I had two bundles of beets on my counter, marinating in their own dirt in a plastic bag from Ralph’s. Pondering them, I knew they could go two ways: abandoned and left to rot before being thrown into the trash, or cut up and made into a soup of some sort.
It was a few days after my Soup Swap, and the pressure had receded enough for me to consider the latter option: Time to try my Rosemary Red Soup again.
I had another epiphany as I chopped off their greens: Beets are alarmingly fleshy, like body parts. And they bleed.
I called in my seven-year-old son. “Look,” I said. “Alien heads.”
Tony looked up from the paper and rolled his eyes. “Great. Like I’m gonna eat that now,” he said. The drama-Tween in the next room shrieked. “That’s disgusting, Mother!!”
But the boy was piqued. My master-plan is to turn him into a young man who cooks. I’ve already shown him how to make an omelet, currently his favorite dinner, and he’s showing a real interest in the alchemy of creating food. He ran in to watch me decapitate the remaining beets with great interest. “If you eat enough of them,” I said, “you’ll pee red.”
He was unimpressed by this last detail. After a few moments of watching, he snatched a head and ran through the house holding it by its tendon-like bottom, eventually chasing his sister outside and down the block.
Having thusly distracted the children, here’s how you make Rosemary Red Soup:
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 beets, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 cup red lentils, washed and picked over
2 bay leaves
6 cups water or stock
2-3 tablespoons lite miso
Saute the diced onions in oil, add carrots and beets and saute five minutes more. Add the herbs, lentils, bay leaves and stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 40 minutes or so. Remove bay leaves. Let cool a bit, then puree soup in a blender, in batches if necessary. Dissolve miso in 1/2 cup water and add to soup. Reheat and serve.
You’ll remember that you need RED beets for this. The results are quite pleasing, when you do it right.
Unfortunately, my likening this delicious vegetarian soup to a blood pudding made with alien heads backfired. Tony balked at tasting it. The girl wouldn’t even enter the kitchen. And the boy wanted a glass of the stuff to play with outside.
I ate a bowl, patted myself on the back for finally having made it correctly, and gifted the rest to my friend Joey, an avowed vegetarian and soup-lover who I knew would appreciate it more than anyone. Alien heads are vegetarian, you know.