Eastern Europe: Russian Borscht

borscht

After the delightful Eastern European style salad nicoise, our palates were cleansed with a classic Russian Borscht, the iconic beet soup.  This was a delightful presentation, vegetable hearty yet light.  We learned that while borscht originated in the Ukraine, there are as many versions of borscht as there are cultures in Eastern Europe, including a green version made with sorrel and/or spinach.  Borscht may be served hot or cold.

Russian Borscht

modified from The New York Times Cookbook recipe

Serves 8.

Ingredients

1 qt beef broth or bouillon
1 qt water
2 cups shredded beets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TB tomato paste
2 TB vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 TB butter
1/2 small cabbage, finely shredded
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
2 bay leaves
Garnish: Sour cream and dill sprig

Technique

1. Heat the broth and water together in covered pot.
2. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, simmer the beets, carrots, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and butter, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Add shredded cabbage and cook 10 minutes longer.
3. Add vegetable mixture, pepper and bay leaves to broth. Adjust seasoning and cook until vegetables are tender. Add more vinegar, if desired.
4. Serve in warm bowls with sour cream and dill.

 

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