06 February 2014


In honour of the Russian Olympics, I thought I'd cook me a pot of borscht. Well, actually, no, it's not in honour of the Olympics at all, it's in honour of the fact that I found a borscht recipe I really like and I wanted some. I hadn't really ever made borscht before that one, as the man and most of the offspring wouldn't be into eating it; but I'm on a bit of a food emancipation kick - I want to try new stuff, particularly new vegetable dishes - so I made some. A friend who happened to come by that day ate a bowlful and declared it good borscht, and as she's of Ukrainian extraction, I feel this soup has received the stamp of approval.

The issue with making anything that involves beets is, of course, that it requires some pre-planning. You can't just stick your head in the fridge half an hour before you want to eat, and go "Oh, there's some beets, let's make something with them" - they take far too long to cook for that. However, cooking them is really easy, and they keep cooked in the fridge for quite some time, so you can pre-cook them one day, and do your spontaneous borschting later in the week. To cook, just wash them off, dump them in a big pot, cover with water, put them on to boil, and bubble-bubble-toil-and-trouble for about an hour (depending on how fat they are - I don't think you really can overcook beets, so better longer than shorter. Poke the biggest one with a sharp knife, and if the knife slides in easily, they're done.). Drain them, let them cool (I fill up the pot again with cold water just to cool them off, because I'm too impatient to wait for them to cool on their own), and peel them. Peeling beets is funny - when they're well-cooked, they slip right out of the skin, with sort of a sloosh kind of noise. I'd highly recommend wearing an apron and/or clothes you don't care that much about, as your hands and the sink and everything around it will look like a bloodbath (I suppose it is, too - beet blood. Muahahahah!).

Okay, now you've got your beets cooked. So here's the recipe (I got it from the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, which was the first cookbook I bought myself after I was married. If you can get a hold of that book, I highly recommend it. No, you can't have my copy; it's falling apart, anyway.)

Quick Beet Borsch (they spell it without the t. Apparently you can also spell it borshch, which is closer to the Ukrainian/Russian pronunciation. But it looks weird that way.)

1 c cabbage, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 c water
cook 10 minutes. Add:
2 c stock or broth
2 medium beets, cooked and chopped
1/2 c beet juice (I leave that out)
1/2 t salt
dash pepper
1 T lemon juice.
bring to a boil, serve with sour cream.

Which is exactly what I'm going to do right now - serve it. Even if it's just to myself.

Life, the Universe, and Borscht. Do they have cookoffs in the Olympics?

No comments:

Post a Comment