Sunday, January 18, 2009

Borsht!

I love borsht. I absolutely love it. In college, I clustered in Russian (cluster is sort of a mini minor). I took three Russian language classes and one Russian literature class, and I was involved in the Russian Club. During our monthly Russian Club meetings, we usually had some sort of refreshment, and it usually took the form of Russian cuisine - we had borsht and pirozhki and blini and pelmeni and all manner of delectable Russian foods. Borsht was always one of my favorites.

So I got online and looked up a recipe for borsht and tried it out. And it really didn't taste very good at all. But it was all I had, so I kept making it for several years. And every time, I would cringe a little because I knew that I really didn't enjoy that particular recipe.

Yesterday when we went grocery shopping, Jeff really wanted to buy a bunch of beets so we could have borsht for dinner. I balked a bit, but finally gave in on the condition that we finally find a different recipe! So I got online and googled "delicious borsht," figuring that ought to come up with some good recipes. And sure enough, it did.

This was the simplest recipe that I found, and didn't call for things like meat (which we're eating less of now) or cabbage (which we forgot to buy) or peppers (which we almost never buy). It also called for roasting the beets instead of boiling them, to preserve the amazing color and flavor. When I made it, Jeff and I agreed that this is definitely a much better borsht recipe and will now be our preferred method of making borsht. Enjoy!


Borsht
1 bunch of beets with greens (bunch is usually 3 or 4 beets)
2 potatoes, chopped
Small onion, chopped
Water
Lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Dill weed (fresh or dried; psst, dried is cheaper)
Sugar
Optional garnish of hardboiled egg, cucumber slices, and/or sour cream (okay, the eggs and cucumber might be optional, but the sour cream really isn't. It just isn't borsht without it!)

Remove the greens from the beetroots and set aside. Scrub the roots (don't peel them) to remove any dirt. Coat beets lightly with oil, wrap in foil, and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour, until you can pierce them. When you check them for doneness, be sure to use a sharp knife so that when it comes back bright red you can pretend that you cut yourself and freak your husband out. Lotsa fun! Anyway, set the beets aside to cool while you prepare the greens.

Rinse greens thoroughly, and chop - include both the stems and the leafy part. Place in large pot with potato and onion. Simmer in water to cover until very tender, about half an hour. Season to taste with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill weed, and sugar. Dice the cooled beets and add to the borsht; it is not necessary to remove the skins. Chill or serve warm with the garnishes mentioned.


Great bonus - along with being absolutely delicious, the entire pot of borsht ended up being only 500 calories. So each serving is only, like, 50 calories. How awesome is that?!

8 comments:

HoneyB said...

I love the color, it looks great! I have never had borsht in my life though! I may have to make just a little bit to try~

Veronica said...

It looks absolutely beautiful -- and good for you too!

Michelle said...

We really enjoyed borsht when we made it for our tour to Russia. I need to make it again!

Jessica said...

Do you serve borsht as a main dish or as a side? Is is sweet or "meaty"? Not sure what to expect since I don't know anything about Russian food. And is that sour cream and chives on top? Just curious. Might have to give it a try.

Stephanie said...

Jessica - Borsht is a savory soup, not sweet, and can be used either as a side or a main dish. If you've ever had beets, that's pretty much the flavor you can expect. You can add beef or lamb to make it a meaty main dish, but we prefer it without because it's cheaper. I topped it with sour cream and dried dill weed for presentation. It's best if you stir the sour cream in a little, so you get bits of it in every bite!

farida said...

Hi Stephanie, thank you for stopping by my blog. I am here to meet you:) Lovely blog - I have already subscribed to be updated on your delicious recipes.
Borch is one of my favorite soups. Since Azerbaijan was a part of Soviet Union at one point, we adopted and adjusted some Russian recipes. Although I believe the origins of this soup is Ukraine from where it traveled all over Soviet Union. As far as I know the traditional borch has cabbage in it. Your recipe sound a little different from the one we use in Azerbaijan, but sounds delicious anyway:) I've been thinking about posting bortch recipe for a long time, and you just inspired me. I may sometimes later. Yours looks so borchy:)) Nice and red, just how I love it:)

Cheers!

Robin said...

Here's the weird thing, I actually LOVE beets, but my grandmother used to make this for me as a kid- and it looked purple and had that terrible name. I thought it was horrible. I think I have to revisit this now as an adult.

Adele said...

How wonderful! I made some with a lovely looking beets and am very happy with the results.

Thanks!