This is a spinoff of a typical borscht soup common in Eastern Europe. It’s perfect for the end of the cold winter season and provides a flavour step into spring while still holding the flavours of winter roots.
2 tsp (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs (1 kg) red beetroots, peeled and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) coins
1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1 bay leaf
2 generous fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup (60 mL) pomegranate arils or green or red seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped toasted pistachios or walnuts
Horseradish dill cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) half-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp (10 mL) extra-hot horseradish, plus extra
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 mL) maple syrup
1/4 tsp (1 mL) kosher salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) minced fresh dill, plus extra
In large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic, and stir to coat with oil. Sauté for 5 minutes, until onion is just beginning to soften. Stir in beets and carrots. Sprinkle with salt. Add bay leaf, thyme, and just enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, or just until vegetables are fork tender.
Meanwhile, make Horseradish Dill Cream. In small bowl, combine yogurt, horseradish, lemon juice, syrup, and salt. Stir to blend. Add more horseradish, to taste, if you wish. Stir in dill. Set aside.
When vegetables are tender, drain and transfer to large, shallow serving bowl. Remove bay leaf and thyme stems. Cool until no longer hot, about 15 minutes. Scatter with pomegranate arils and nuts. Drizzle with Horseradish Dill Cream and scatter additional fresh dill overtop. Serve at once.