Friday, February 2, 2018

Red Beet Apple Soup with Creamy Toasted Walnut Pesto Hearts

Welcome to my first Valentine's Day recipe post of 2018. It's a great one. Not only because it's so pretty and festive but also because it's sooooo flavorful. 

If you are planning on making Valentine's dinner for your significant other, what could be better than this warming meal straight from the heart?

Fresh red beets, shallots, parsnips, and apple are cooked together in apple cider, white wine, and broth, then mixed with cream and pureed to perfection. 

In addition to the pretty red Valentine's color, who can resist a pesto heart garnish? The soup is topped with a delicious accent of cream cheese, pan toasted raw walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and dill.

Beautiful and flavorful, Valentine's day aside, this soup is a stunner to brighten up any winter table. 
Red Beet Apple Soup with Creamy Toasted Walnut Pesto Hearts

Prep Time: 25 minutes 
Cook Time: 55 minutes 
Yield: Serves 4
  • 6 shallots
  • 4 parsnips
  • 1 lb fresh red beets
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup apple cider or juice
  • 2 + 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 apple, sweet-sour type
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dill plus more sprigs for garnish, if desired 
  • 3 + 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Peel the shallots and cut into small pieces. 
  • Peel the parsnips and red beets and cut into small cubes. If you like, use kitchen gloves to handle the beets to prevent your hands from staining. 
  • In a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat, melt the clarified butter. Add the chopped shallots and stir them around.
  • When the shallots become transparent, add the chopped parsnips and beets. Stir for 2 minutes or so to sweat them. 
  • Add the dry white wine and the apple cider or juice to the vegetables. Mix everything together and let cook for five minutes. 
  • Add the vegetable broth to the pot. Bring everything to a boil. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 35 minutes. 
  • Peel and core the apple and cut into very small pieces. Place a small bowl and toss with the lemon juice. 
  • Chop the raw walnuts into smaller pieces and place them in a small naked frying pan over medium heat. Stir the walnuts until they are slightly toasted. Don't turn your back on the pan, they can burn very quickly. 
  • Remove the walnuts from the stove and set aside to cool. Chop the dill into small pieces. 
  • Place the walnuts, the cream cheese, and the dill into a food processor and blend. Add the extra virgin olive oil and blend. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 
  • Remove the mixture from the food processor. Use a greased heart cutter to shape 4 hearts out of the mixture and set aside. 
  • Turn the heat up to medium the pot and add the apple pieces. Stir in the cup of heavy cream. 
  • When the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the soup from the heat and transfer to the food processor or, alternatively, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 
  • While the soup is still hot, transfer it to four soup bowls. Add to each bowl of soup one walnut, cheese dill heart. Garnish with a sprig of dill and serve. 
  • If you have extra pesto left over, serve it on the side so guests can scoop extra into their soup if desired. 

Like beets? 
Try these other recipes featuring beets as the star ingredient:

Heart Shaped Red Beet Chips with Garlic Parsley Dip
Roasted Beet Tarragon Hummus
Whole Wheat Red Beet Bread
Red Beet Walnut Chocolate Cake
Red Beet Almond Schnitzel
Golden Beet Feta Tarragon Tart in a Whole Wheat Crust

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