OK, that one's going in the cookbook: Beet and mushroom soup
Step 1: build a garden
Step 2: grow a beet
Step 3: make bone stock
Step 4: make beet and mushroom soup
Step 5: survive the Apocalypse,
Optional: laugh in the face of disaster
I planted a whole row of beet seeds, and they all sprouted up nicely, and didn't grow into beets. They all stayed these little things with some small leaves. One seed, however, must have fallen into the planter outside the veg bed where I've planted a protective wall of marigolds. It sprouted and grew right up into a full size beet. My entire crop. I learned that you have to thin the seedlings, or they just don't grow. Sigh. Live and learn.
However, my beet was a beaut. Its leaves were large and shiny with beautiful red stems nice and lots of pretty veining. The root was a good size, about the size of a lightbulb. And the colour was excellent, a gorgeous deep purply red.
I chopped the leaves and stems and sauteed them with a little stock and curry powder and had them as a side with lunch yesterday.
For the soup:
a few cups of stock
one beet, peeled and grated fine
blob of tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 onion, chopped small
(dried porcini mushrooms, or porcini mushroom soup cube)
splash of port
(optional) tsp apple cider vinegar
(If you want the digestive benefits of apple cider vinegar but don't like too much acid, add a teeny barely-there bit of baking soda, which neutralizes acid.)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan (mine's enamelled cast iron) bring the stock to the boiling point, but don't boil. Sautee the chopped mushrooms, onion and garlic until they are releasing their juice and the onions are transparent, and add to the stock.(If you're using dried mushrooms for flavouring, add them to the stock immediately so the flavour can be simmered out.)
Grate the beet root very fine and add to the pot. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes - NO BOILING ! Add the blob of tomato paste, a handful of pepper, the stock cube if you're using one, splash of port and vinegar.
Cover, and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Maybe move to the smallest burner. Leave it to simmer very, very low for 1/2 hour.
Eat. Good with a blob of sour cream, like the Ruskies do.
Here's a thing about how beets are the best food in the world. Antioxidants. Phytonutrients. Science!
Here's a thing about how to grow beets in the winter.
How do you know your beets are ready to pick and eat?
Not like potatoes when you just have to guess. Beets - which have a bazillion times the nutrients of potatoes - pop up out of the ground and all but say, "Hey! I'm done here! Where's the soup?"