Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beet and Apple Soup, Skirt Steak with Cilantro Garlic Sauce and Sauteed Beet Greens

I really wanted to make this soup today.  Really, really.  My friend, Lisa B. got me a case of Gravenstein Apple Juice from Purity Organic.  She gave it to me after reading my first couple of posts and knew this product would fit my bill.  The apples are from Sebastopol, and everything was processed and bottled in the Bay Area.  Win Win.  Then I woke up this morning and it was POURING rain.  I wanted to get my beets from Tomatero and my steaks from either Prather or Marin Sun Farms and I had a very specific apple in mind for this soup.  But it was raining.  I thought to myself, oh just go to Whole Foods, it'll be fine.  Then I thought about all those vendors I knew would be there, and I thought, if they can load their trucks and haul themselves out there to sell me stuff that's really good for me, the least I can do is put on a rain jacket and get out there and support their efforts.  Got to run into my friend, Kathie P., too--she had her whole family there and was getting stuff to make her batch of Chicken Stock (Whoo Hoo!--Warms my heart.)

Beet and Apple Soup
(original recipe here: Parade Magazine)
6 beets, trimmed  with 1 " of stalk and scrubbed  (keep the greens!)
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups apple juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter  (I used Earth Balance--soy free since we have Dairy allergy)
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced, I was lucky to get Pippins from Rainbow Orchards--they may not be around past Thanksgiving. 
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste (from 1 large lemon)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crème fraîche, for garnish, optional (I used yogurt cheese from St. Benoit)

Place the beets in a large, heavy pot and cover with the broth and juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and cut the beets into pieces.

Strain broth through a fine sieve lined with two paper towels and return it to the pot.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium- low heat. Add the apples and sauté until just caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Purée the cooked beets and sautéed apples together in batches in a food processor, adding some broth through the feed tube. Return the purée to the pot and combine with the broth. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pass the soup through a strainer, if desired.

Serve the soup hot or cold, dolloped with crème fraîche if desired. It was good both ways.  You can make this ahead in the morning or the day before and reheat gently.

I love this note about beets in Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon:
Among the many minerals contained in the beet one must cite first of all iron and copper, important trace minerals, and also calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.  Under certain types of agriculture, the amount of sugar in the red beet can be more than 5 percent.  These natural sugars and the minerals that the beet contains are in balanced proportions and make of  the beet an especially precious food.  Beets help re-establish numerous functions of the body and a diet based on beets has an incontestable curative effect.  Beets are permitted to diabetics and are used in cancer therapies.  Because of its dark red color, the beet has for a long time been considered a blood restorative and a food that strengthens the entire organism.  The beet should appear often on our tables.--Annelies Schoneck Des Crudites Toute L'Annee.

I didn't change a thing with the recipe linked above, except watch the timing on the steak.  It easily took double the time to get to the color I've got on the picture posted.  I did end up getting my skirt steak from Marin Sun Farms
I also noted today that Marin Sun Farms is selling chicken stock by the quart for $8.  This is not too far off what it costs you to make on your own.  I noticed theirs is not as golden colored as mine comes out, it may be they don't leave it on the stove as long, but nutritionally is far superior to anything you can get out of a can or box at the supermarket.

Sauteed Beet Greens
Wash your beet greens thoroughlyChop them in smallish pieces.  You can treat these like spinach, chard, kale, etc.  I did mine with onions and garlic.  Heat up your olive oil, saute the onions for about 5 min., add the garlic, 1 min. later throw in the greens.  Season with salt and pepper, maybe some lemon juice if you have it.  Beet greens have a milder flavor than chard and are wonderful!

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