Beets may be a hip ingredient at the moment, but many people have bad memories of the canned beets they were served as kids. This is unfortunate because beets are incredibly versatile; you can roast, pickle, thinly slice and fry them, even use them in ice cream and cakes. In this recipe, we’ve transformed them into a beautiful and fragrant soup as a foil to caramelized spätzle and tangy crème fraîche.
Serves | 8 |
- 3 lbs red beets
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbsp thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- 7 eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
| Preparation – Beet Soup | Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss beets with olive oil and season with salt. Wrap each beet in foil and bake for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven, cool slightly, and peel and quarter them. Place beets in a stockpot with chicken stock through thyme and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, star anise and bay leaf. Purée with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in cream and season to taste with salt.
| Preparation – Spätzle | Whisk eggs lightly until just mixed, being careful not to introduce too much air. Add milk to the eggs and stir gently. Place flour in a separate bowl and slowly add egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix gently. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Prepare an ice bath in a large mixing bowl. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Place a colander over the pot. Working in small batches, place spätzle mixture into the colander and push through with broad swipes, using a rubber spatula. Spätzle is done when it floats. Remove quickly and place in an ice bath. Once all the spätzle has been cooked, remove from ice bath and pat dry with a paper towel.
Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and butter. Once the foam subsides, add the spätzle to the pan, cooking in batches. Toss to coat in butter and cook until golden brown, tossing occasionally to ensure even browning. When all spätzle is cooked, season with salt and pepper.
| To Serve | Pour soup into 8 individual bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche and spoon a generous portion of spätzle in the bowl.
SUGGESTED WINE PAIRING: Chaumette Vineyards & Winery Traminette 2011 from Chaumette Vineyards & Winery, Ste. Genevieve, Mo., chaumette.com