Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 2/3 cups soup, 1 1/2 tablespoons yogurt mixture, and 1 tablespoon dill)
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower
2 pounds large beets with greens
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 cups plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped peeled parsnips
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
How to Make It
Remove greens and stems from beets; discard stems. Rinse and drain greens. Finely chop to measure 2 cups. Peel beets; cut into 2-inch pieces.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle coriander over bottom of pan; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add garlic and onion; cook 12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add beets and tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 5 cups water and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until beets are very tender. Discard bay leaves.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add parsnips and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.
Place beet mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend beet mixture until smooth. Return pureed soup to pan; bring to a simmer. Add beet greens and parsnips to pan; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Combine yogurt and remaining 3 tablespoons water. Top soup with yogurt and dill.
I couldn't find beets with tops (not inexpensively anyway) so I used Swiss chard in place of the beet greens; and as I couldn't find parsnips I used purple carrots. The chard seemed to work well but the carrots took quite a long time to cook in the skillet - the better part of an hour. I did use whole coriander seeds but would recommend either using ground coriander or straining the soup after the puree step as even when "lightly crushed" the seeds impart a gritty texture to the soup. Assembly took a long time (e.g., peeling 10 garlic cloves), and I ended up preparing this over two nights. This is a very "beet forward" borscht, understandably; but I've tried other borschts with meat and/or more vegetables which tempered the beet flavor and made for a more balanced soup. It is filling on its own, though - I served it with just some bread, but I suppose it could go alongside stuffed cabbage leaves or some other Eastern European main dish. I don't think I would make this again, with other borscht recipes out there that I've liked better.
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