It hardly feels as if we’ve had winter this year – sorry if you live somewhere where it does, with blizzards and sleet and such – but I actually love the winter, sticky snow and sleet and all. The coziness of it, the open invitation to hibernate, the lack of pressure to get out and do something while it’s nice out. Not that I’m complaining about the sunny days either – people have been hanging out on patios on the regular – it just feels weird.
February is normally soup month, and root vegetables and winter squash. And now suddenly it’s March! And this brilliant red soup – made so by the combination of orange squash (or sweet potato) and purply beets – is bright and citrusy with orange juice, or a bit earthier without. That’s the beauty of soup – you can toss whatever it is that needs cooking into your pot without much need for precision.
I like to roast beets by the batch, each trimmed and wrapped in foil, then set directly on the oven rack for an hour or so, until they’re tender – you can do a lot with a roasted beet, from slicing them into a salad to pickling them or sautéing them in a hot pan with some butter and a drizzle of honey – and they’ll keep, wrapped in their foil packets (put them into a bowl in case there are drips) for up to a week, until you need them.
A splash of cream or spoonful of yogurt will make this a paler pink – a bonus, if you have kids who like their food to be a certain shade of something. It’s also beautiful served topped with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chives; if you like, draw the tip of a bamboo skewer through each blob to make a heart.