Despite being of Central and Eastern European descent, I actually don’t cook many German or Ukrainian dishes (mainly special treats, though). However, Rob’s parents are very keen on traditional Polish food, and when they came to visit last weekend to help with the burgeoning garden, I wanted to create a meal that everyone would enjoy.
I knew the raw kale salad with beets was a hit over Easter, so I figured I would pick a dish that had similar familiar ingredients: beets, potatoes and dill. That may sound so boring and bland, but I knew I hit jackpot when I spotted the Six Shades of Red Soup in Color Me Vegan (original recipe posted here). It was a virtually fat-free soup filled with red lentils, red potatoes, beets, (red) onion, dill and the perfect twist: red miso. The sixth shade of red was from vegetable juice, which I omitted. I also increased the dill and pureed half the soup for a creamier consistency.
As you can see, this was a beautiful soup. It deepened in colour overnight and the flavours melded wonderfully. It was creamy, yet chunky, with sweetness from the beets but structure from the potatoes with a hint of dill and a depthness brought from the red miso.
I am happy to report that it met the approval of the traditional Polish folk. Not your traditional borscht, different, but in a good way, is how they put it and invited me to make it again anytime. Me, redo a recipe? By request from special people only!
This made a ton of soup, with generous servings, so I was able to enjoy the leftovers. The soup doubled as a perfect meal while cycling last weekend. With the long distances, I prefer to eat more liquid-based foods (ie, soup! homemade sports drink! smoothies!) and this hit the spot. It was light on my stomach and jammed full of vegetables and miso providing sodium and potassium, which is important to replenish when exercising.
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Served with Love and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, founded by Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments and hosted by Jacqueline.
Beet, Potato and Lentil Soup with Dill
10 cups water
2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed
550g red potatoes, washed and chopped (I used the small ones)
1 large beet, peeled and diced (250g)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, finely chopped (370g)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes
2 tablespoon finely chopped dill
1/4 to 1/2 cup red miso paste, depending on how strong it is (I used 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable juice (optional, did not use it)
Finely chopped dill as garnish (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Add the water, lentils, potatoes, beets, onion, carrots, garlic, and chili flakes to a large soup pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Keep covered while cooking and skim off any foam that collects at the top. When you think the foam has subsided (check around 10 minutes in), add the dill.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, thoroughly combine the miso with some warm broth. When the soup is done, remove from heat, stir in the miso mixture. If a creamier texture is desired, removed half the soup and puree it with a hand blender. Return to soup and serve topped with a sprinkling of fresh dill. If reheating, do not let the soup come to a boil to preserve the health benefits of the miso.