This soup has been a favourite of mine for several years. I recommend roasting the beets as it adds an extra level of sweet, roasted flavour. Check out this video for an easy way to roast beets. If you don’t have time, you can use chopped raw beets; the beets will soften at the same time as the lentils.
2 pounds beets (about 8 medium), roasted and chopped.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
5–6 fresh thyme springs
3 leeks, washed and cut into half-moons (or use one large diced Vidalia onion)
4–5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, diced coarsely
1½ cups red lentils, rinsed well
5 cups water or stock,
1 cup crushed or puréed tomatoes
1 398-mL can diced or whole tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon
Yogurt or good quality sour cream or goat cheese
Warm oil or melt butter with thyme in a large soup pot over medium heat.
Add leeks and sauté about 3–4 minutes.
Stir in garlic, pinch of salt and some black pepper.
Stir until leeks become soft, about 4–5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add carrots and half of the beets.
Add about ½ cup of stock or water, tomato purée, canned tomatoes, lentils and the remaining beets. Stir until lentils are well coated.
Increase heat to medium high, add remaining stock or water and bring soup to a slow boil.
Simmer on medium low heat, uncovered, for 12–15 minutes or until lentils are soft and cooked through.
Blend with immersion blender until smooth, add lemon juice. Dilute to desired texture with additional stock or water.
Stir in most of the chopped dill, reserving some for garnish.
Serve warm and garnish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and the rest of the dill.