Sunday, May 16, 2010

Red Riot Soup: a Creation

At our restaurant in Athens, we make many different soups. In winter we often serve two contrasting soups at a time. The soup I call "Red Riot" I created for the restaurant as a counterpoint to our Green Garden Soup, which has been popular with vegetarians. As it turned out, we had so many soups already we did not actually use this one.

Red Riot soup combines 10 different red vegetables with red wine to make a dark cranberry-red potage that can be served hot or iced.

In a recent article I did for the Athens Banner Herald on soups over the ages, this was the 21st century soup I selected to anchor the series of recipes that extended from a soup recreated from an ancient Roman cook book. The middle two soups, Dutch Pea Soup with Smoked Sausage (4/22/10) and French Pumpkin (Butternut) Bisque (5/1/10) are already on my blog.

This multi-vegetable soup would only possible in recent generations, since it depends on fresh produce from spring, summer and fall harvests. Prior to modern shipping and refrigeration, the vegetables could not have been assembled at any one time. The soup also depends on modern technology, the food processor, for finely chopping or puréeing the vegetables.

The optional topping is sour cream, dusted with paprika.

Red Riot Soup

Prepare vegetables, as indicated, in a food processor:
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup split red lentils (from natural or health food store)
6 cups water
1/4 cup red wine
3 whole small beets, about 1/2 pound, peeled
1/2 pound (1 bunch) red radishes, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 pound (half a small head) red cabbage, finely chopped
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (unflavored)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large red potato, scrubbed but not peeled, puréed with 1 cup water in food processor
1 tablespoon salt, plus to taste
Sour cream plus paprika for topping, optional

In large soup pot, fry onion in oil, stirring frequently, until softened.

Rinse lentils. Add to onion, along with water, wine, and whole peeled beets. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add radishes, bell pepper, cabbage, tomato and spices. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender.

Test beets for doneness by piercing with a toothpick. When cooked, remove from soup and reserve.

Add puréed potato plus salt to soup. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt, if necessary.

Finally, purée the cooked beets in food processor, adding a little water if needed. Return beets to soup.

Simmer briefly. Add water if too thick. Taste and add salt, if necessary.

Serve hot or chilled.

Optionally, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle very lightly with paprika.


Blogger Tim Dondero said...

Test to see if all comments show up in Chinese. Tim

6:02 PM  

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