Red Beet Borscht
Because Central Asia is so cold, the people rely on culinary staples that are substantial and warm. The vodka helps, but a hearty root-vegetable soup like borscht gives the body a nourishing zip. First the beets are cooked whole to make a broth. Then other vegetables are added and all are cooked to make a colorful, richly flavored soup that gets even better the next day. To make cleanup easy, chop and clean the vegetables on a newspaper; to make the job faster, chop them in a food processor.
Mind Refresher: Stand straight, breathe normally, and concentrate on your in-and-out breaths for 30 seconds. As your thoughts run here and there, keep coming back to your breath.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Courseappetizer, main course
Dietary Considerationappetizer, main course
Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, savory, spiced, sweet
Type of Dishhot soup, soup
- 3 medium beets (500 g) whole, leaves and stems discarded
- 10 cups (2½ L) water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- 1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped (about ½ cup)
- 3 medium Yukon gold or white potatoes (12 ounces or 350 g), peeled and grated (about 2 cups)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated (about 1½ cups)
- ¼ medium-head green cabbage, finely shredded (about 4 cups)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Sour cream or crème fraîche
Put whole beets and water into a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Stir in tomato and cook a few more minutes.
Add onion and tomato mix, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to soup pot, cover, and cook over low heat 1 hour.
Remove cooked beets with a fork and rinse under cold water to cool. Peel and grate.
Stir grated beets, dill, and parsley into soup; continue cooking 10 minutes to blend flavors.
Serve garnished with sour cream or crème fraîche.
2008 Sharon Louise Crayton