Since getting back on track with a lower carbohydrate diet, I have been looking more closely at the kinds of carbs a recipe contains. Simple carbs are out and complex carbs are in, at least for a while. I want my meals to still be interesting, tasty, satisfying, provide variety and be visually appealing, and of course be nourishing, and healthy. I don’t think that’s asking too much do you? With all those requirements in mind, I turned to this recipe for a soup called Borscht.
This is a soup I have known about for a long time, but never tasted. I knew that its origins were in Eastern Europe, particularly Russia, and that it contained beets. And that is as much as I knew about it. Probably what kept me from attempting to make it was the beets which I was never fond of until recently when I learned to roast them. With the encouragement , no urging, of my dance partner who is Russian I decided to try to make it. Well, with the internet being the wonderful tool that it is, my recipe search easily turned up many, many, recipes. As I began to look at some of them I found them all to be quite different from each other, the one commonality being beets and the water they are cooked in. This appears to be a soup that every family has a recipe for, and makes with their own special touches.
I selected one that included a lot of vegetables, a beef broth base, and seasonings that I had on hand. It is a multi-step recipe that I made on a weekend day and the hands-on time I spent on it was about one hour. So if this recipe appeals to you and you want to give it a go, plan adequate time for prepping all the vegetables. Once everything is in the pot, it takes care of itself and gives you back a beautiful deep red colored soup, chock full of vegetables and goodness with a wonderful complex flavor that is hard to define. The quantity of the original recipe is HUGH, so I made only half the amount and it was still enough for 6 -8 servings. That is the size I am printing here. If you would like to serve an army, then just double all quantities. I served it topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill. We absolutely loved it, have had it twice as our main meal, and I have been eating it for lunch also.
SERVINGS: 6 – 8
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 cups cabbage, chopped
- 3 large beets (size of oranges or apples)
- 2 cups beet water
- 2 cups potatoes, chopped in fairly large dice
- 6 cups beef broth (or vegetable broth for a completely vegetarian version)
- 1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
- 2 cups beet greens, kale or spinach, chopped
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, or 1 – 2 teaspoons dried dill
- salt and pepper to taste
- sour cream and more dill for serving
1. Prepare beets by scrubbing really well, leaving skins on. Place beets in a large pot, cover with water and boil until cooked through, adding water if necessary to keep them covered. This may take and hour or longer, so you can do this the day before. When beets are tender, strain beet water into a bowl or large measuring cup and reserve. Run beets under cold water removing the skin and when comfortable to handle, grate with a box grater.
2. In a VERY large soup pot heat olive oil, when hot add garlic and onions and stir for a few minutes until translucent. Add celery, carrots, and cabbage and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add potatoes and continue to sauté for 10 minutes. If veggies are starting to stick, add a small amount of broth.
3. Add beef broth, pasta sauce, 2 cups beet water and bay leaves and continue cooking until vegetables are tender.
4. Add grated beets into the soup, the vinegar, brown sugar and cumin. cooking for another 10 minutes or so.
5. Add chopped greens and 1 teaspoon dried dill or fresh dill. Cook a few minutes till greens are wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve this hearty soup with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of dill and be sure to include a dark whole grain bread to round out the meal.
P.S. My dance partner rated my first time effort at “4 stars out of 5”, based on how his mother makes the soup.
SOURCE: slightly adapted from VanCityFoodie blog