Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup
By Gail Gordon Oliver
This is a delicate soup with nuanced sweetness and depth attained by roasting the beets and fennel until they've become lightly caramelized. I like to use golden beets in this recipe, but feel free to use red or Chioggia beets if desired.
Makes 4 servings
1 large bulb fennel
3 large golden beets (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the paper; set aside. Trim the fennel, reserving the fronds to use as garnish. Slice the fennel into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange in a single layer at one end of the baking sheet. Lightly brush the fennel with up to one tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. In a medium bowl, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Place evenly at the other end of the baking sheet. Bake in a 400° F oven until the beets and fennel are lightly caramelized and just tender when pierced with a fork, 35 to 45 minutes. Carefully pick over the fennel to remove any stringy portions.
In a large saucepan or small stockpot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg, turmeric, thyme, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper, and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in the broth, roasted beets and fennel. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Purée the mixture in a blender (working in two batches) or using a handheld blender. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with fennel fronds when serving.