There are a few books that I am tempted to try every single recipe they offer; Gordon Hamersley's Bistro Cooking at Home is one of them. More than 150 recipes, so he claims, almost all of them are fascinatingly simple to prepare, and every single dish we have tried so far are fascinatingly deep in flavor. Here comes a delicious beet and ginger soup from it, Daisy's pick.
Ingredients for a serving of 8. We prepare half of it, it is still too much soup:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 medium beets, about 2.5 pounds, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tbs sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
2 tbs chopped garlic
1 ts fennel seeds
1 ts dried tarragon
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh tarragon
1 quart water
Heat the oil over medium heat, add onion, beets and sugar, cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the ginger, garlic, fennel seeds and dried tarragon, stir for a minute or so. Add the broth, orange juice, vinegar and water, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer about 1 to 1.5 hours, until the beets are tender. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Be patient and keep pureeing, you can never over-puree. Taste and keep seasoning with salt, pepper and vinegar as needed. I think it is better to prepare the soup early and let the flavors develop a couple hours then warm it up and serve with the chopped fresh tarragon. I spooned some cream just to smooth out the taste a little more. Also, if you do not have dried tarragon, just replace it with finely chopped fresh tarragon and dry the remaining tarragon for later use. I dry most of my herbs from the left over fresh herbs.
Folks were at our place for dinner at Valentine's day. I made that soup. The color was quite appropriate for the day and the taste of it made me everybody's valentine.