6 c vegetable or chicken broth, or water
1 lb parsnips, (peeled) cut into small cubes
6 beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1 large shallot, or half a small onion, thinly sliced
3 whole cloves
3 whole peppercorns
3 T sugar (optional)
salt and pepper
1 c sour cream or plain yogurt
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 T chopped fresh dill, or 1 t dried
1. Bring the broth to a boil in a soup pot. Add the parsnips. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the parsnips to a bowl.
2. Add the beets, shallot (or onion), cloves and peppercorns to the simmering broth. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beets to the cutting board, reserving the liquid. When the beets are cool, (slip off the skins and) cut into small cubes.
3. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large bowl. Return the broth to the pot. Add the parsnips, beets and sugar, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer.
4. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, scallion, and dill.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the sour cream mixture.