Monday, December 20, 2010

Soup of the week: Russian Borscht

Each week, I have found myself jumping from continent to continent sampling soups from all around the world, and in this third installment, I bring you the soup that I grew up on, Borscht. This soup has an incredible history, and thousands of varieties, in fact, everyone I have met seems to have a different recipe for the soup. Some call for sausage or veal, others stick with chunks of beef and potato, but we all can agree on three ingredients: beets, cabbage and sour cream!

This soup has a tremendous number of memories for me: from evenings sitting in a sunflower themed kitchen with my chin barely reaching over the kitchen table to high school days coming home from school and frantically putting out soup pot fires, where a lonely blackened beet rested at the bottom of a dried out pot.

I used to spend the summers with my younger brother and my grandmother Ada in a little cottage in the woods. She would make us amazing, fresh soups with ingredients plundered from the forest and watch us shovel them down before she would sit down to eat. It took me over a decade to realize that we were poor and she wanted to make sure we were full before she would eat our leftovers. Borscht is a noble and filling dish, and particularly inexpensive to make.

I dedicate this week's soup to my grandmother who spent her life loving and caring for her obnoxious, ungrateful grandchildren. You will never be forgotten.

Russia's Traditional Beet Soup

2 lbs beef, small chunks
3 beets, diced
2 carrots, chopped
4 shoots celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 tbsp, veggie oil
18 oz diced tomato
1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup dill
18-20 cups beef broth, or water
sour cream - to serve

In a large pot add onions to veggie oil and brown. Add beef, brown. Add Carrots, celery and beets and cook for 5 minutes. Add cabbage. At this point you may find that you want to separate your soup fillings into two different pots, at least I did, Add 2 cups broth to each, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomato and the remainder of the broth (as well as salt and pepper to taste) and allow to boil for about 40 minutes to one hour until your broth has turned beety red and the beef is soft and tender.

To serve, add a generous scoop full of sour cream and a tablespoon of dill.

Enjoy and share with friends and family. Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Simple, but delicious. Not many recipes call for meat to be added though.