Toasted amaranth adds a nutty flavor that's truly delicious; sesame seeds make a good substitute.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large fennel bulb, sliced
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 pounds golden beets, peeled and cut into wedges
6 cups water
3/4 cup julienne-cut peeled Chioggia or red beet
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup uncooked amaranth or sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
How to Make It
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add fennel, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and cook 20 minutes or until very tender, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turmeric; cook 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add golden beets and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until beets are tender.
While soup simmers, combine Chioggia beets, juice, sugar, and cilantro; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add amaranth; cook 1 minute or until toasted, shaking pan constantly. Pour into a bowl.
Place half of soup in a blender. Remove center piece of lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a towel over opening in lid. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Repeat with remaining soup mixture. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and red pepper. Spoon mixture into shallow bowls. Top with pickled Chioggias; sprinkle with amaranth.
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