Pink Soup!
July 1, 2008, 11:50 am
Filed under: in the kitchen

There’s so much life to live in the summer that it’s hard to sit still long enough to make blog posts. But continuing experiences with new-to-me vegetables are worth documenting, so here we go!

Beets? They were around when I was growing up, usually pickled. Never touched the stuff, personally. But an eeny-meeny-miny-moe menu encounter in a local Russian deli revealed to me I like borscht. I like it a lot! So when the CSA foisted beets on me, this was first choice.

I found the process of boiling and peeling the beets fascinating. I walked away from the kitchen, forgot I’d a pan on the stove, and ended up over-boiling by a good deal of time, yet it doesn’t seem to have mattered.

This is were I started swooning a little, reminiscing about high school biology. The beets were fleshy and veined, almost like meat. Felt like dissecting a heart.

And they’re gorgeous. In my opinion.

As evidenced by the fact I couldn’t stop taking snaps.

Another new-to-me idea: that of boiling a whole lemon in your stock. It imparted the hint of tang I love so much about borscht, without making it sour. Also, this is veggie soup, but not vegetarian. I used chicken stock for depth of flavor. You can also use beef stock or veggie stock.

The diced beets get added to the pot and everything is boiled together until it gets red. I boiled for far longer than my starting point recipe said, because I wanted everything super soft.

Lunch! I love soups for lunch because the lightness of them helps mitigate 2 pm slump. I love soups I made myself even better.

Vegetable Borscht (modified from CD Kitchen)

3 beets
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 lemon, pricked with a fork in several places
6 cups meat or vegetable stock
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sour cream

Cut the greens from the beets, leaving about 2 inches of stems attached. Reserve the greens for another use. Wash the beets well, place them in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Drain. When cool, slip off the skins and dice the beets. Set aside.

In a stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, beets, lemon and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the soup is red and the flavors are blended, about 30 minutes (up to an hour if covered). Remove the lemon and discard. For creamier borscht, spoon up to three cups of soup into food processor, puree, and return to main pot. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with thick sour cream or yogurt, and fresh bread.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

WHOA PEENK! That is so cool, I’ve never had borscht before! Must add it to the to-cook-for-sure-soon list!

Comment by woodley park-zoo

What a pretty pink soup :) Borscht has been on my to do list forever!
Since you get CSA veggies, I am assuming that the greens are not as sad looking as grocery store beets? If yes, then here’s a recipe I tried last summer and loved:
It uses, beets, greens, stalks – everything! and is very very yummy in my opinion. while she is particular about specifying ‘fresh coconut’ and ‘coconut oil’ – you can easily substitute that with vegetable oil and regular unsweetened dry (sweetened may make it a tad too sweet, since beets are already sugary!), or the frozen grated coconut you get in Indian grocery stores.
If you dont have tamarind I would skip it in the recipe and finish with sqeezing the juice of a lime at the very end (lime juice imparts a bitter flavor if you boil it on high heat, or for too long) Happy (B)Eeting :)

Comment by aa

I grew up around the corner from a Russian deli and hold a special place for those foods. You know something that’s fun to do with beets is to cook them with potatoes and mash them. You get pink mashed potatoes!

Comment by Sylvie

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