Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gnarly Beets

Yo-y0 weather continues throughout the months of March and early April. One of those past weekends when we pulled the short end of the stick, I made beet soup. I'm not sure which came first - the sight of beets or the cold weather - for this sudden craving. Or perhaps I was yearning for the gorgeous ruby red color.

The beets I bought at the Union Square Greenmarket were large, and frankly even from the farmers market's standard, looking unruly. Far from the uniformly smooth and round ones you would normally see. They cried out "free-range", and I wanted to treat them with utmost respect. I could simply cooked the beets in the broth and puré them. But this time I decided to make clear soup instead.

First step is to make the beef stock. Sear the shanks in the big pot until they are brown all over, about 15 minutes. Then add water, throw in a few halved onions, bay leaves and peppercorn. Because it always produces multiple batches of stock, I would refrain from adding the salt. I prefer any stock to be flavor neutral for the later use. Cover the pot and just leave it on the gentle simmer for a few hours until the meat fall off the bone. While waiting for the stock, I steamed the beets. The end of Day 1.

So, dinnertime at the Day 2: this is the result. Add diced beets in the stock, salt & pepper to taste, a dollop of Crème fraiche adds a cool tang to the sweet & savory soup. You may ask, where's the meat? Well, the meat is in the freezer...waiting for the later reincarnation.

Ku Cake

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