By Kristy Del Coro
Makes About 6 Cups
Inspired by Russian Borscht, this chilled beet and apple soup is the perfect balance of sweet earthiness from the beets, tartness from the Granny Smith apples, savory notes from the red onion and thyme, and bright acidity from the red wine vinegar. Top with a variety of optional garnishes such as a few dollops of greek yogurt, diced cucumber, a few sprigs of fresh dill, lightly sautéed diced apples, or mini croutons and fresh chives as shown here. This is the perfect soup for transition seasons like Spring and Fall when it isn't cold enough outside for hot soup and not quite warm enough for chilled summer soups like gazpacho. This soup is also packed with good-for-you ingredients giving you a big dose of antioxidants in even one small bowl.
1 bunch beets (3-4 large), peeled & halved or quartered depending on their size
4-5 cups water, divided
3 Tbsp good olive oil, divided
1 each large Granny Smith apple, sliced into 1/4" thick wedges
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Ground black pepper ground to taste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, divided
Peel beets and trim ends. Place in pot with 3 cups of water (enough to cover). Bring to a boil and cook for 30-40 minutes so that they start to soften.
Add 1.5 Tbsp olive oil to separate stock pot and turn heat to medium.
Add sliced onion and sliced fennel and season with 1/2 tsp salt.
Sweat over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the fennel and onion start to soften.
Deglaze with 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar.
Add sliced apple and season with 1/4 tsp salt and some black pepper. Add fresh thyme to the pot as well. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes until apples start to soften.
Add beets along with all their cooking liquid to the stock pot. Add an additional 1.5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until beets are soft enough to puree.
When ready to blend, remove sprigs of thyme and transfer soup ingredients to a blender. In batches, blend with remaining olive oil, remaining red wine vinegar and pinch of salt.
When soup is blended, transfer to one or two metal bowls and place in refrigerator to chill. After it has cooled and before serving, check seasoning and consistency and adjust if necessary with more water. The soup can be stored in refrigerator for about 5 days.