Going-for-the-Gold Soup: Golden Borscht

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Growing up Jewish, I knew what borscht was: a cold soup made from beets and was an eastern European staple. But my mother did not make her own borscht. She bought it in a jar along with another cold soup called schav made from sorrel. So I never acquired a taste for these soups because they did not look appealing to me in their jars. But I decided this week that it was time for me to learn how to make borscht. Schav was more like a green smoothie, so I might incorporate that into a smoothie if I could find sorrel (I actually grew it last summer on  my patio.)

Here is the hot version of the soup.

Here is what Wikipedia says about borscht: Borscht (also borsch, bortsch, borstch, borsh, borshch; Ukrainian: борщ) is a soup of Ukrainian[1] origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient,[2][3] giving it a deep reddish-purple color. In some countries, tomato is used as the main ingredient, while beetroot acts as a secondary ingredient. Other, non-beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-based orange borscht and green borscht (sorrel soup). (Ah, so sorrel soup or schav is considered green borscht! es)

When I Googled borscht I learned that it could be made hot or cold, with or without boiled potato or sour cream. In fact, there are probably several different ways to serve this soup, both hot and cold, so I am posting a hot version & a cold version. And since I accidentally bought yellow beets instead of red beets, my soup came out golden. If you Google pictures of borscht, the picture will probably be red or deep pink from the sour cream added to the soup.

Utensils: Soup pot, cutting board & knife, food processor or blender
Prep. Time: 20 minutes to 30 minutes (When the beets are done, allow 30 minutes to actually prepare the soup)
Cooking Time: At least one hour to simmer the beets

Ingredients

3 to 4 medium to large organic beets, red or yellow
3 to 4 cups water or veg. stock
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper (optional)
Garnish (potato, sour cream, dill, chives, sliced cucumber, etc.)

Directions

1. Wash & scrub beets well, Cut in half or quarters and place in the soup pot with 3 to 4 cups of water or soup stock. (About one cup per beet)
2. Bring soup to a boil and simmer until beets can be pierced with a  fork.
3. Remove the beets with a slotted spoon, cook, and peel. Cut into smaller pieces.
4. Place severalpiecesof beets into food processor/blender, add a ladelful of liquid with the onions & garlic, and puree. Continue until all the beets are pureed. (You may have some liquid left. Save in case the soup thickens overnight.)
5. Warm soup if using it hot. Serve with any of the garnishes. In the picture above I added dill and chives from my patio garden. (The day I made it was rainy & chilly so I ate it hot.)
6. To serve cold, place in ‘frig and chill overnight or several hours. Serve with your favorite garnish. In the photo below I added sliced cucumber. (I got the idea for this topping from Nikki Goldbeck’s excellent book, American Wholefoods Cuisine. Cucumber is perfect for a cold soup on a hot day.)

Yield: 3 to 4 cups soup

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