Monday, March 2, 2009

The Beet Goes On!
Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night by a need for Borscht? I have, just last night as a matter of fact! Maybe it is due to my week of constant study of pig parts! I just needed a break…Needless to say, I did not jump up, get dressed and run to a 24 hour grocery store to buy beets, but I considered it. There is simply nothing that can substitute for borscht. Not even chocolate….when you want borscht, you want BORSCHT!
It is my understanding that borscht is actually not Russian, but Polish in origin, primarily of the poorer people (beets were cheap). The soup dates at least to Medieval times. Today, you can find recipes with and without chunks of meat, recipes served hot or cold, Recipes using fresh beets, roasted beets, canned beets. Even the toppings vary, sour cream, buttermilk, diced egg, minced fresh dill, or a mixture of two or more!
My favorite? About 6 or 7 years ago, at the annual Tucker New Year’s Eve Party, our friends, Sandy and Rainer Krowas, brought their Borscht with finely minced egg as the topping. It was delicious! So, this morning I reached for the recipe and it was gone! Yes, I have to rely on another recipe for lunch today, but I fear it isn’t going to fill the bill, if you know what I mean. I sent an urgent message to Sandy, pathetically begging for the recipe, maybe I will have it by dinner.
In the meantime….here is my second choice.
Hot Borscht
4 cups diced beets (canned will do but fresh ones will make a more vibrant flavorful soup)
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups stock: chicken, beef or vegetable
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 tablespoons red wine (or other) vinegar
sour cream or buttermilk for garnish

1. Simmer the beets ahead of time until they are tender. Let them cool. If you do this a day ahead, the soup will go together very quickly. (Today, I am using canned!)

2. Place the chopped onions and the butter in a soup kettle (preferably non-aluminum). Sauté the onions until they are transparent. While they are cooking, slip the skins off the beets and dice them until you have about 4 cups (1 quart). Slice the carrots.

3. After the onions have become limp, add the beets, carrots and the stock. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer the vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. While these cook, chop the cabbage. After the onions, carrots and beets have cooked, add the cabbage and vinegar and continue to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely soft.

5. Whirl the soup, a portion at a time, in a blender until it is well puréed. Return it to your soup pot, heat and serve.

If you want a Borscht with Beef……

12 ounces boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 cups water
1 jar red cabbage (16 ounce) undrained
1 15 ounce can diced beets, drained
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Place meat in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Add water, undrained cabbage, drained beets, and onion soup mix to slowcooker.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Ladle soup into bowls.
Top with sour cream. Makes 6 main-dish servings (8 cups).
all photos from

No comments:

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker