Russian Borscht, a soup I have never tried. I had been thinking about making borscht for awhile. I had heard the name many years ago, and the word always intrigued me. What was in borscht? It sounded like a meaty soup to me. The heavy sound of the name made me think of that. Ha…was I ever wrong!
When I was growing up on the dairy farm, my dad had hired employees who hailed from various countries. Maybe this is partially why I love international cuisine so much. Sometimes these guys or their families would cook us a meal, or introduce us to things from their cultures. I always loved that. I often was tired of basic American food, you know…meat and potatoes, burgers, hot dogs, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed those things sometimes, but when I had the chance to try something new I eagerly took that opportunity!
When I was in my last years of high school, my dad had employed some Russian interns. They had come to learn about dairy farming and agriculture so they could take what they’d learned and use it when they went home again. They joined us for holidays and shared things with us about Russia. One time, they had us over for supper. I chuckle about it a little writing this because, at the time, the two young men who were employed were only a couple years older than I was. It seemed they were really excited to have us over for a meal.
They had made some kind of dumplings (I don’t know what they were called), and they were stuffed with meat. We topped them with sour cream and some pepper. It was somewhat like eating a stroganoff stuffed pirogi. They were very good. A simple dish, but tasty. What was cute though was the guys had given us boxed wine to wash the food down with!
That memory made me want to try cooking Borscht. I am curious about Russian food since I have had so little of it.
The original recipe I used was in a cookbook I had recently purchased, The Moosewood Cookbook: Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, New York (a used 1977 copy–totally vintage baby!) I modified the recipe because uh…I hate beets. Although I have only eaten them pickled, this is one of the few foods that truly makes me run screaming away from it. I did notice that beets are a common component in the recipes I looked up, but I’m sorry…I just couldn’t do it! I didn’t see beets at the store anyway…
I will make note of the amount of beets that should be added in the below recipe. I substituted the beets with more potato.
First, you’ll want to get a little simmer and saute going on! Peel your potatoes and add them to some water to begin boiling them. To another pot, add the onion, butter, and caraway seed.
Once the potatoes are cooked through, drain and reserve the potato water. Cut the potatoes into chunks, add the honey, vinegar, tomato sauce, dill, salt, and pepper.
Once the onion is translucent and tender, add in the veggies! To the carrots, celery, cabbage, and the xooked onion, pour in the reserved potato water. Then, combine the potato mixture into the vegetable pot.
This will need to simmer for about 30 minutes while covered on the stove. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
For condiments, I added some sour cream and extra dill. You could also add some diced tomatoes.
The soup itself turned out really well. I must be honest here though, it didn’t really suit my taste buds. I am sure it has to do with the tomato sauce. Sometimes, tomatoes turn me off. If a tomato based soup or sauce is sweeter, I am not fond of it. I think in this dish the honey and the carrots only added an even sweeter taste to the tomato sauce that I was so put off by. The sour cream helped with that, but not quite enough.
So, um…anyone want leftovers?