"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Rosemary red soup with alien heads

by Julie Tilsner on February 9, 2008

in Soup is Easy, Soups

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.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shari February 10, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Though fascinated, don’t think I’ll make this since beets and I are supposed to love each other because of my eastern european descent, but we don’t. I do love the fact that you are getting your son interested in cooking. Mine has shown a recent interest and is cooking eggs each and every morning for himself and anyone else that admits even the slightest bit of hunger.


Abigail February 11, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Wow, that sounds great! I usually despise beets (it may very well be the fact that they look like alien heads), but I might give this recipe a shot. Thanks!


Berita Harian February 12, 2008 at 1:17 am

nice recipe,well put and wallop…looks tasty and yummy 😉


Julie R February 12, 2008 at 7:03 pm

I always equate this soup with you because you gave me the recipe years ago and I think your kids liked it then! I thought the version at that seder was, well, a good save, but not nearly as good as this one…..


Kim/hormone-colored days February 14, 2008 at 11:34 am

This is great! I’m supposed to bring “red food” to my bookgroup tomorrow night.


Natalie May 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Me and beets are very close because we both have russian roots, but normally we see meet each other at a bowl of vegetarian borsch or at a plate of a salad called “Health” (grinded fresh beets, carrots mixed with pommegranate seeds and some parsley, and pine nuts, sauced with olive oil and sprinkled with himalayan rose salt or sea salt or alpian mountain salt or russian black salt burnt with cabbage leaves in the oven, shaked well altogether in a closed bowl and left to marinate for a while in a refrigerator). And i could never imagine that beets could go well with rosemary. But as soon as I get first fresh beets from my mom’s land, I’ll open my stock of turkish dried but so aromatic rosemary and make a date for those two and a company. Thank you


Julie May 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Natalie – that sounds really delicious…but sorta scary…fancy salts and marinations?? Well….think of the blog fodder….thanks!


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