Russian Soup for a Cold Day

Recent snow storm reminded me how great it is to have a big bowl of steaming soup in cold weather. As with many cuisines, every family in Russia has their own twist on the familiar soups.  Here is mine.

Russian Beet Borscht

For the soup base you can use either veggie stock or beef/ chicken stock.  This soup is delicious either vegetarian or non-veggie, so I’ll give you both versions.

You will need:

Stock of choice
Beets, one or two bunches, with greens
(you can also use the canned kind, I won’t tell)
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, diced
Garlic – lots of it
Some cabbage or sauerkraut (a lot of people skip this, and will tell you that once you add cabbage it’s not, in fact a borscht.)
Green peas, frozen or fresh (can be easily skipped)
A couple of medium-sized tomatoes, cut in fourths, skinned
Sour cream and dill for serving

for a non-veggie version you will also need some bacon
1. Bring stock to boil, put in the sauerkraut, reduce to simmer
2. In a separate pan, heat up oil (or bacon fat) and lightly sauté some onions and carrots. Reduce the heat and add pressed garlic and peas.  Cook on medium-low, stirring.
3. Slice the canned beets, or roast fresh ones (or you can cook them in a microwave in about 7 min with some water), and then slice them.  Chop up the beet greens.
4. Add beet greens to the stock and let simmer for a little while.
5. Add the sautéed veggies to the stock, cook for about 10 min.
6. Add the tomatoes, bring to boil, reduce the heat
7. Add the sliced beets. Let simmer on low for about 25-30 min.
IMPORTANT: Once you add the beets to the stock, do not let it boil – to preserve the nice color. If it boils, it’ll turn a rather unappetizing brown.

Serve with sour cream, and fresh dill.  You can also make some garlic puffs to go with it.


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