Hopefully you’ve made it to the store with the shopping list. Now it’s the fun part: time to get cooking! It’s Tuesday night, and Kaia and I are ready to grill up some sammies and create this delicious beet soup!
Follow along with us in our video here.
We have our bunch (or bundle) of golden beets. There were 3 in the bunch, and they probably weighed 1 lb. each. That’s a pretty good amount of beets. They also came with their tops attached, those are the greens on top of the beets. The beet greens (tops) are great for a blanching… that’s cook talk for tossing the greens into boiling water for a quick bath, usually 2-3 minutes. We’ll talk about this later when we start making the sammies.
We cut the tops (greens) off of the beets, leaving about 3 inches of greens stocks attached to the beet itself (that will become part of the soup, we are adding some carrots later too). We set aside the greens for blanching.
I used a paring knife to clean up the beet tops. Then we set these aside while we prepared the soup base.
We wanted to create a delicious base for our soup. We started with a large pot on the stove over low heat. Before putting the beets in we added smashed Garlic (garlic from the already pre-shelled bags – parents should lay the garlic on a cutting board and use their knifes’ side to smash the bulbs), olive oil (1/4 cup to coat the pot), Shallots (should be a small dice in size) and a couple peppercorns to sweat in the pot.
After a couple minutes of letting those oils and flavors mingle over low heat, we added the chicken broth and Kaia turned up the heat to medium (with my supervision).
Kaia and I took this time to talk about her Girl Scout cookie sales. We still need to drop off a few last orders this week to my friends who ordered. She sold WAY more cookies this year than in years past, and we have been running around at least one night a week trying to get them all delivered.
Back to the soup! It’s time to get the beets and carrots ready. Wash them really well. Beets are an earthy flavored veggie, but you don’t want actual earth in your mouth or on the rest of your food. Once washed, Kaia started to peel the beets. She used a potato peeler to take the outer layer of skin off the beets. The beets need to be peeled like an apple. Baby carrots don’t need to be peeled, just washed.
Once peeled and cleaned, Kaia and I cut up the beets into similarly sized pieces, about 1.5 inch cubes. They will be different in shape. Don’t worry, this is normal and does not have to be exact. We halved the baby carrots so they cooked at the same speed as the beet cubes. Once the beets and carrots were cut Kaia added them to the now boiling soup base, also called soup stock.
We wanted the beets to be completely submerged so we added about 2 cups of water. Once the soup came to a boil, we lowered the heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes.
While the soup simmered we got the grilled cheese fixings ready. We bought the cheese in a block (because it tastes better to us) so we needed to grate it for the sammies. Kaia takes care of the shredding in our kitchen – she thinks it’s fun! If shredding is not an option, parents can slice the cheese as thinly as possible so it melts easily.
A flat iron is preferred due to its size and gives the space to make more than one sandwich at a time. If you don’t have a flat iron (which is most people, including us) you will want to use a cast iron skillet or a large sauté pan. The skillet or sauté pan should be large enough to have 2 slices of bread lay flat with a little space between them.
We cooked our sammies on thick sliced bread (usually close to an inch thick). Kids put the cast iron skillet or sauté pan on the stove. Mom or dad (or adult) should turn the stove up to medium heat and let the pan get nice and hot. Make sure that you are communicating. There is nothing worse than a trip to the hospital on an empty stomach.
While the grilled cheese pan is getting hot, we went back to check that the soup is simmering. Ours wasn’t, so we adjusted the heat accordingly.
We assume you knew going into this dinner that aside from the beets soup, this meal is not “light”. Butter, cheeses and bread are what make up the next component. These are three of my favorites, and I am pretty sure my daughter loves them too. Remember we are sticklers for moderation. Too much of anything can’t be good. The portion sizes given are bordering on gluttony. However, it’s okay to indulge once in awhile.
We added about 2 tablespoons of butter to the heated pan, one on each side of the pan for each slice of bread. The trick here is to wait for the butter to melt before putting the bread in the pan.
We flipped the bread a little under 2 minutes then added cheese evenly to both slices. This creates a nice crust so that the bread doesn’t deflate and get too oily. Have you used this trick before? By heating the bread on both sides before adding the cheese, it creates a nice warm place for the cheese to melt.
Once we added the cheese, we covered the soon-to-be delicious cheesy bread so it melts evenly.
While the cheese was getting melty, we put the beets and stock (the soup) into our blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can improvise a way to mash everything using a fork or spoon, spatula, hand blender, etc. You’ll probably need to cook the soup a bit longer than the suggested 25 minutes so that the beets are softer, since the goal is to create a smooth and even texture, like a puree (if it seems to thick for your soup preferences, just add a cup of water and mix again). Once pureed, set the soup aside.
Remember those beet greens we cut off the top of the beets? This is where they come in! We added some water to the same pot we had used for the soup and brought it to a boil. In the interest of time (we were hungry!) we chose not to rinse our soup pot. You can do the same, or leave it as is and simply add water.
Once the water was boiling, we tossed in the beet greens to blanch. This only takes about 2 minutes once the water is boiling. Remove them and add to cold water/ice bath. We used a bowl large enough to accommodate the size of the beet greens without folding them. The ice bath cools them quickly to stop the cooking.
We pulled the top off of the grilled cheese pan. At this point, you should be seeing an even melt, from the outside of the bread into the center.
Kaia pulled the beet greens from the ice water bath and patted them dry.
I lowered the heat on the pan before Kaia layered the greens on each piece of cheesy bread. Then with a spatula, I flipped one half onto the other and cooked as a stacked sandwich for about 2 minutes. I flipped and cooked for another 2 minutes. The cheese should be thoroughly melted with the beet greens looking pretty in the middle. We removed the sandwich from the pan and placed on a cutting board.
We were getting close to the finish line and we were HUNGRY! Kaia grabbed plates and bowls. Kaia poured the soup into the bowls with a little guidance from me. The cheesy grilled sammies can be cut however you want them to be. We usually cut them into triangles, because we think they taste better in a triangle!
We hope you enjoy this very comforting meal, and most importantly the time you have spent together.
Watch our video here!
Recipe: Makes 4 Sammies, 4 bowls of soup
3lbs. – Golden Beets with greens still attached
1 Qt. – Chicken or Vegetable stock/broth
4oz. – Baby Carrots
6 – Garlic Bulbs
10 – Peppercorns
2 Tbsp. – Sea Salt
2 to 4 cups – Water
½ loaf – Thick-sliced bread
4 tbsp. – Unsalted Butter
8oz. – Gruyere Cheese
4oz. – Sharp cheddar
4oz. – Other Cheese (we suggest Swiss or provolone, but you can get wild here)
Large Sautee Pan
5 Quart pot for the soup
Blender – without a blender, it will be tough to accomplish the even texture desired for the soup. However, you can get close by cooking the beets longer and smashing them
Cheese Grater – if you do not have a grater, just slice the cheese as thin as possible
Spoon for tasting
2 cup measuring cup. If you do not have a measuring cup of any size, use a pint glass is it equivalent to a 2 cups
8 inch kitchen knife
Paring knife, or small blade
All recipes written to cook with instructions for ADULTS (A), KIDS (K), and BOTH (B).
GOLDEN BEET SOUP
A: Cut the greens from the top of the beets (leaving about 3 inches of stock attached to the beets). Set greens aside for sandwiches
K: Put a pot on for the beets, low heat
A: Add olive oil, smashed garlic, herbs, peppercorns to pot to sweat
A: Clean the tops of the beets with a paring knife
K: Peel the beets
A: Cut the beets and carrots into smaller pieces
K: Add the chicken (or vegetable) broth to the pot with the herbs and spices.
K: Turn up the heat to a medium-high temp (Adults please be sure to supervise).
A: Add the beets and carrots into the pot to boil
B: Make sure to monitor the level of the fluid in the soup and cover with the additional water so that the ingredients are submerged.
A: Bring to a boil
K: Cover and simmer about 25 mins. If you do not have the blender or mixer be sure to cook for an additional 10 mins to soften the beets further. This will make them a bit easier to mash and mix.
A: Pull your bowls out of the cupboard
K: Grab the soup ladle or big spoon to serve the soup
A: Remove the pot and help the kids ladle the soup into the bowls
GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES:
B: Put your pan on heat (medium heat is recommended)
A: Portion the butter into 4 individual tbsp pieces
K: Grab the bread and set them on the counter next to the stove
A: Add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan for each slice of bread
K: Grate the cheese
A: If you do not have a cheese grater slice the cheese as thin as possible
K: Put all the cheese onto a plate for easy access
K: Fill you measuring cup with 2 cups of water and pour into your empty soup pot. Bring water to a boil
A: Make sure your kids aren’t burning themselves
K: Fill a bowl with ice and water
A: Place the bread on top of the melting butter in the saute’ pan
K: Lay the large pieces of Beet greens into the boiling pot of water
A: Use tongs to remove the Beet greens after about 2 minutes and place them into the ice bath created by the kiddo’s
A: Flip the bread slices and add the desired amount of cheese to the browned side of the bread
K: Cover the pan with a lid or tinfoil if you do not have a lid that fits the large pan
K: Once you begin to see the cheese melting in the center of the bread slices lay the beet greens on two of the cheesy bread slices.
A: Flip the cheesy green bread onto its mirrored slice and center each of the sammies in the pan
A: Flip them one more time for even cooking and cover
B: They will not need more than a couple minutes to melt thoroughly so be ready with plates
B: Enjoy the heck out of the respectively healthy meal you have created together