Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beet, Leek & Barley Soup

Beets (or beetroot as they refer to it) are a popular vegetable here in Australia and I've been eating more and more of them. You rarely see a burger without a few slices of beet tucked into the bun which is a real favorite of mine now that I've had it a few times. I grew up not liking beets for no particular reason besides the fact that they were a bit odd-looking and tasted a little like dirt. Now though, that earthiness is appealing and they seem to be good just about every way that I have them.

That deep, purple-red hue is astonishing and I love the way that this soup looks. The sweet leeks play off the beets natural sweetness and the chewy barley adds some nice heft. The astringency of the lemon juice and the freshness of the dill is a needed garnish - I don't think the soup is quite as good without them.

I haven't had borscht in years but this soup is definitely a simpler, lighter cousin of the original. With just 6 ingredients and a little simmering this very pretty soup was being slurped up alongside the Guinness Rosemary Bread I recently made.

For 4-6 Servings:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 beets, peeled and cubed
  • 1½ cups cooked barley
  • 4 cups stock
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beets and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the stock and barley and bring to a simmer. Cover, and simmer until the beets are tender, about 45-60 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more stock or water to thin the soup if desired. Ladle into bowls and top with some lemon juice and dill.


Nancy-Jane said...

It looks yummy.

Andrew said...

Thank you for posting this recipe! I had a hard time finding a soup recipe with beets, leeks, and barley. I've got the ingredients, except for the stock, which I'm going out for tonight. I'll make this soup tomorrow. I'd like to know if you've made any variation of this using beef stew meat.

Andrew said...

For lunch today I enjoyed a bowl of this soup with some chicken. I used dried dill, but I liked it. I'll definitely be making this again. It's easy to prepare, and the cleanup is also easy.