Golden Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup
Combine these jewels of fall to create a beautiful and unusual soup that is a change from the typical squash and potato-based cold weather soup selections.
8 cups golden beets
1 large fennel bulb, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, peeled and chopped
l large, sweet apple, peeled, cored and grated
6 Tbs butter
1/2 cup quark, softened and creamed (substitute whipped goat cheese or sour cream)
1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped, toasted and tossed in butter while hot
chives or scallions, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place beets in a pot, and cover with water. Parboil the beets until tender. Remove the beets, slip off the peel, and chop. Don’t throw the water away.
Turn off the heat under the beet water, and place the fennel and celery in the water to soften to al dente. Remove. Save the water.
Brown 4 Tbs of butter in a small skillet. Remove from heat, mix the butter with the cooked vegetables, and spread them on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Roast in the oven till very soft, mixing occasionally, about 30 – 45 minutes. Vegetables can brown, but do not let them get crisp.
Add the roasted vegetables back into the beet cooking water, and puree in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water as needed to make a medium thick soup. These steps can be done a day ahead, and the soup refrigerated.
Before serving, brown the remaining 2 Tbs of butter, and add to the soup. Peel the apple, and grate it into soup using a fine grater. Heat the soup till hot, and serve garnished with a dollop of quark, a sprinkle of hazelnuts, and a few bits of chive or green scallion.