Beet-Fennel-Greek Yogurt vs. Immersion Blender

Despite my failed attempt at Irish brown bread last night, the pureed vegetable soup that I tried made up for my whole-grain failure. Inspired by the most recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I whipped up a brilliant magenta dish: Beet and Fennel Soup with Kefir. Unfortunately, the only type of kefir--a drink that looks and tastes like yogurt-- sold at the Fresh Market was pomegranate flavor, and since the recipe called for unflavored, I opted to substitute Greek yogurt for the ingredient. It is amazing that the simple trio of beets, fennel and Greek yogurt can combine to create such complexity in this dish. The intense ruby color of the soup makes the beets immediately recognizable, but beyond the intial sweet taste emerges the tangy undertones of the yogurt and the subtle licorice-like flavor of the fennel. I would have never thought to pair these three together, but their union makes for quite a delicous soup.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 large (2 1/2- to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Fennel fronds (for garnish)

1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add cubed beets and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until beets are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
3. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to same saucepan. (Or use an immersion blender right in the pan). Whisk in 1 cup plain Greek yogurt and season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rewarm soup.
4. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with additional yogurt; garnish with fennel fronds.

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