Sunday, February 22, 2009

Borscht

Casualties incurred whilst making this soup:
1) My thumb. It was burned when the boiling soup splashed on me.
2) My green sweater. It got beet juice all over it, which I am trying to wash out but beet juice stains so only time will tell.
3) One of my kitchen towels. Covered in beet juice. Covered. Its life is over.

My boss has been getting so many beets from his CSA (and passing them onto me) and I am out of ideas. I have roasted them, made them into salad, done some other random stuff, and now I resort to the only last thing I can do: borscht. This beet soup contains so many other vegetables, and yet all you taste is beet. Not the beer, not the mushrooms. Just the beets. And more beets. Sometimes a hint of dill. And more beets. I like beets, but I am no Dwight Schrute. I can only take so much of it before I can't stand it anymore. Not a fan of the borscht, no.

borscht

Borscht
Cooking Light, January 2008

There are many different versions of this Russian soup. Unlike this interpretation, many are chunky. If you puree the soup as the recipe directs, you don't have to worry about precision when you're chopping. The simplest way to peel celeriac is to remove the rough, knobby skin with a sharp chef's knife.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 3/4 cups chopped onion
1 3/4 cups chopped peeled celeriac (celery root)
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1/3 cup chopped parsnip
1 tablespoon tomato paste
7 cups water
1/2 cup light beer
2 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups chopped peeled baking potato
2 garlic cloves, crushed
12 ounces sliced peeled beets
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mushrooms to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion; cook 6 minutes. Add celeriac, carrot, and parsnip; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste. Add 7 cups water and beer; stir well. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cabbage, potato, garlic, and beets; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Place half of beet mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining beet mixture. Stir in vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 3/4 teaspoon dill.

Yield: 8 servings

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