This recipe comes from a damp, cold winter's dinner at Dar Nour — "House of Light" — inside Tanger’s dense, whitewashed Kasbah. In a dining room full of books, intimate photos of the city’s rich literary history, patterned Berber textiles, European antiques, and flickering candles, the silky, scarlet soup was presented in a heavy white tureen. It was smooth and warmingly piquant with ginger and a generous grating of black pepper. Perfect!
Away from Tanger and its Mediterranean blues, I have been served very different versions of this soup. On a hot spring night at the edge of the vast palm groves in the southern oasis of Zagora, among dusty, pounded mud-and-straw pisé walls of an ancient house in the medina, the soup came slightly chilled and without the ginger, which allowed the earthy sweetness of the beets to come through stronger. That version tasted as perfect in Zagora as this warm, spicy version did in Tanger.
See all beet recipes.
In a medium-sized pot, combine the beets, potatoes, and water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook at a low boil until the beets and potatoes are soft but not crumbling, 40-45 minutes.
Remove from the heat, remove the lid, and let cool, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Using a food processor, and working in batches as needed, purée the soup for at least 1 minute until satiny smooth.
Return the soup to the pot and stir in the ginger. Bring almost to a boil over medium heat. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve in white bowls to show off the vibrant color.