Beets are often described as having a sweet, earthy flavor, which is a euphemistic way of saying their taste is unique and polarizing. Like the New York rock band named after them, beets are not for everyone. If you like beets, great. If you don't, great; there is nothing I can say to change your mind.
There are many ways to serve beets; all require staining your hands fuchsia. Know this: It's crucial to add a squeeze of lemon to this soup — beets and citrus are famously compatible, and the extra acid adds a stimulating base note that makes you want to keep eating.
Puréed Beet Soup
Yield: 4 to 6 servings; Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and black pepper
2½ pounds beets, peeled and chopped
½ pound starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
Juice of 1 lemon
Sour cream for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beets, potatoes, and carrot and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, then add the stock.
Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cook until the vegetables are fully tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice and purée with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or cold, garnished with the sour cream and dill, if desired. (Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.)