1. Beet Soup with Plums and Coriander

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    This unusual recipe from Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders for beet soup is the perfect way to brighten up a winter table.

    Serves 8

    This exquisitely balanced soup boasts a striking combination of colors and flavors. It is an unusual and ingenious use for plum jam, whose hue and tartness perfectly enhance the beets. The bright garlicky coriander yogurt and parsley garnishes show off the beauty of the soup brilliantly.


    ¼ cup neutral-flavored olive oil

    1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

    Freshly ground black pepper

    2½ pounds dark red beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

    ½ pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into

    ½-inch cubes

    ½ cup bright-flavored red or purple plum jam

    Freshly squeezed lime juice, as needed

    Kosher salt

    To serve:

    1½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

    2 cloves garlic, very finely grated

    ½ teaspoon kosher salt

    2 teaspoons coriander seeds

    ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


    Heat the olive oil in an 8-quart soup pot over medium heat.

    Add the onion, garlic, and celery and sauté until wilted and verging on translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cayenne, paprika, and several grinds of pepper over the onion mixture and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.

    Add the beets, potatoes, plum jam, and 9 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the beets and potatoes are very tender. Puree the soup using a handheld immersion blender. Add a few squeezes of lime juice and salt to taste.

    To make the coriander yogurt, while the soup simmers, place the yogurt in a bowl and add the garlic and salt. Toast the coriander seeds briefly by placing them in a small cast-iron skillet and shaking them over medium heat until they release their aroma. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and grind them finely.

    Add the ground coriander seeds to the yogurt mixture and stir very well with a fork to combine. Cover well and chill until needed. The yogurt is best within 1 hour of being made.

    To serve the soup, ladle it into warm bowls. Drizzle each serving with 2 to 3 tablespoons coriander yogurt and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

    From Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders, Andrews McMeel 2014

    Image by: Sara Remington