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Magenta Soup
From Melissa's Great Book of Produce, by Cathy Thomas

This colorful soup can be prepared 2 days ahead and reheated. Because one of the goals is to produce a purplish-red color, use red beets. In this instance, for best color and flavor, start with raw beets.

To prevent staining hands, use rubber gloves when working with raw beets. Use caution when working with fresh chiles. Wash work surface thoroughly upon completion and do not touch face or eyes.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds red beets
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped red cabbage
4 celery stalks, trimmed, chopped
1-1/2 cups roughly chopped red onions
1 jalapeño chile, seeded, minced
About 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth, low-sodium preferred
2 to 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt, if needed
Sour cream for garnish
Finely sliced chives for garnish

Instructions:

1. Peel beets and chop. Melt butter and oil in large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add beets, cabbage, celery, onion, and chile; stir to coat with butter and oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, about 10–12 minutes; do NOT brown; reduce heat if necessary.

2. Off heat, cautiously pour in broth. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 1 hour or until beets are very tender. Remove from heat.

3. Purée in small batches in food processor fitted with metal blade, or blender, reserving 1 cup of broth. Use caution when processing hot liquids, holding lid down tightly with potholder and working with small amounts.

4. Return puréed mixture to pot. Add reserved broth if mixture is too thick. Stir in lime juice; reheat soup on medium-high heat. Taste and add salt if needed. Ladle into bowls. Top each serving with spoonful of sour cream and sprinkle with chives.

Yield: 6 Servings

Nutritional information (per serving): Calories 180; calories from fat 70; total fat 8 grams; saturated fat 4 grams; cholesterol 15 milligrams; sodium 290 milligrams; total carbohydrates 17 grams; fiber 4 grams; sugars 10 grams; protein 9 grams; vitamin A IUs 10%; vitamin C 35%; calcium 6%; iron 15%.

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