3 pounds medium beets, unpeeled (about 12 medium beets)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 small white cabbage, shredded (about 8 ounces)
4 cloves garlic
12 cups chicken stock
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
(1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes can be substituted)
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 Knorr beef bouillon cube
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 crème fraîche
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut half of the beets into 1-inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the beets, onion, cabbage, and garlic; and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken stock, cloves, bay leaves, Aleppo pepper, black pepper, and stock cube. Cover the saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 and 1/4 hours.
Place the remaining beets in a glass dish. Add 1/4 inch water, and cover with foil. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the beets are cooked. When they're cool, peel and roughly dice.
Strain the beet-cabbage mixture, discarding the solids. Add the liquid to a blender with the reserved roasted diced beets and sour cream, and purée until smooth. Add the sherry vinegar, and season to taste with salt. Place in refrigerator until well chilled. Serve chilled in individual bowls, each topped with a swirl of crème fraîche and garnished with dill.