Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Borscht - Russian soup

This soup was the best! I find that most soups are either flavorful or pretty, but not many hit both. This is the homerun of soups. It has the most intense magenta color and a flavor that is not traditionally American at all but not so far out that it can't please a crowd.

1 onion, chopped
1lb raw beets, peeled and chopped
1 large cooking apple (granny smith), chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
40z mushrooms, chopped
2tbsp butter
2tbsp sunflower oil (I used grapeseed oil)
8 cups vegetable stock (dissolve 4 vegetable bouillion cubes into 8 cups of water)
1tsp cumin seed
pinch dried thyme
1 large bay leaf
fresh lemon juice
salt & ground black pepper
2/3 cup sour cream
few sprigs fresh dill, to garnish

1. Place all the chopped veggies (and fruit) into a large saucepan with the butter, oil and 3 tbsp of the stock or water. Cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in the cumin seeds and cook for a minute, then add the remaining stock or water, dried thyme, bay leaf, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

3. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.

4. Strain the veggies and reserve the liquid. Pass the veggies through a food processor or blender until they are smooth and creamy.

5. Return the vegetables to the pan, stir in the reserved stock and reheat. Check the seasoning.

6. Serve the borscht with swirls of sour cream and topped with a few sprigs of fresh dill.

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