Warm Beet Soup

serves 4–6

Beets are one of the first root vegetables we plant in our gardens each year and one of the last we pull from the cold dirt in the fall, usually after a frost. We steam or sauté their stems and greens, then season them with a good olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. Or we bathe them simply in melted salted butter with a splash of fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, or serve them with a generous spoonful of garlicky aïoli. The beets themselves, roasted or boiled, can be served just like the tops. But beets are also one of our favorites for making soup, cold or hot—in this case a warm velvety soup of outrageous color, and sweet, earthy flavor. We hope it puts the roses back in your cheeks (it always does in ours).

Garnish this soup with a lot of snipped fresh chives and a dollop of sour cream. A small handful of finely diced roasted beets is a tasty finishing touch too.

2 pounds beets (4–6 medium beets)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
6 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons freshly grated or store-bought prepared horseradish
Juice of ½ lemon, preferably Meyer
Salt and pepper
Thin bunch fresh chives, chopped


Preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap each beet in foil and bake until tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Unwrap the beets and when they are cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the skin. Coarsely chop the beets and set aside.

Put the onions, potatoes, carrots, and broth into a heavy large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the chopped beets and horseradish to the pot. Set the soup aside to cool slightly.

Working in small batches, purée the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Thin the soup with a little more broth or water if it’s too thick. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Before serving, return the soup to the pot and warm it up over medium-low heat. Garnish with plenty of chives.