Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Borscht. Yes, Really.

One of my 2010 food goals was to make borscht, if for no other reason than to say that I tried it. I'm not a big fan of cold soups, so I was very excited to find that there are many different ways to serve borscht. In many cultures, borscht is served cold like gazpacho but it is just as often served hot. In the same fashion, some recipes recommend pureeing the vegetables so the soup is a creamy consistency, while others want the vegetables left chunky. 

The recipe offered below is a chunky soup, served hot. The potatoes are cut into small, bite-sized pieces for ease in both cooking and eating. The beets and onion are shredded, so a food processor's shredder attachment will make your life easier for that step. No matter what type of vegetables you add, they'll all be stained purple by the end for a very unique dish. Also, the lemon juice is necessary to create the acidic or sour taste that is essential to the overall flavor of the dish.

Based on a recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

(for gluten-free meal, use gluten-free broth)
(for vegan or dairy-free meal, omit sour cream) 
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 potatoes, chopped into small pieces (regular or sweet potatoes)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 bunch beets (6 or so), peeled and greens removed
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (less if using table salt) 
  • 10 grinds freshly ground pepper (about 1 tsp)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 egg
  • sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add garlic and potatoes. Cook for about a minute.
  3. Add broth. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil, then turn heat back to medium-low. Cook for about 7-8 minutes.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, shred beets and onion in food processor. Add to soup when ready.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium low until all vegetables are tender.
  6. Add lemon juice.
  7. Scramble egg in small bowl. Add spoonful of soup to egg, stir well, then drizzle back into pot of soup while stirring. 
  8. Serve immediately with sour cream if desired.

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