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Pureed Beet Soup with Apple-Fennel Slaw

When I served this sweet, earthy soup to my three young daughters, they gasped, proclaimed it the color of lipstick, and happily gobbled it up. The bright, creamy fuchsia color really steals the show and is the reason my favorite color is “beet.”

Prep time 30 minutes
Serves 8 to 10

For the soup:

2 pounds (905 g) beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
2 fennel bulbs, fronds removed
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 cups (475 ml) unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups (946 ml) Simple Chicken Stock
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium oranges, zested and juiced, divided
1 14-ounce (400 ml) can full-fat coconut milk

For the slaw:

1 large apple
1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided
For the soup
1 Place beets into a 6-quart (5.7 liter) slow cooker.
2 Trim the fennel bulbs, cut in half, and slice thinly. Place half of the slices into the slow cooker. Place the other half in a medium bowl and set it aside.
3 Place the shallots, carrots, tarragon, apple juice, vinegar, mustard, stock, and sea salt into the cooker. Add the zest and juice from one of the oranges to the cooker as well. Cover and cook for 6 to 7 hours on low (or 3 to 4 hours on high), until beets are fork tender.
4 Blend the soup until smooth, preferably with an immersion blender. Stir in the coconut milk. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Cover and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so while you get the slaw ready.

For the slaw

5 Cut the apple into thin slices (peeling not necessary) and add it to the bowl with the reserved fennel. Add half of the juice from the other orange, half of the juice from the lemon, and a generous pinch of salt to the bowl. Toss to coat.
6 Serve soup with a couple forkfuls of slaw in each bowl.