Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blogging the Borscht!

I made borscht tonight.

Now when I was a kid, borscht was this awful cold watery stuff that was a magenta color that nothing in this world should achieve naturally. It was generally out of a bottle with a thick blob of sour cream in the middle. And the taste. Ugh. It was weirdly sweet and dirty tasting with an edge of chemical preservatives. Ew.

Since I started this thing with traditional cooking I've discovered that many of the adulterated dishes I'd hated as a kid are something else entirely when made from scratch. Borscht is one of those things.

First of all, Sandor Katz's version is made with home-pickled beets. About 2 weeks ago I diced up 5 lbs of beets, added brine and caraway and sealed it up for a week. When it came out it was delicious - sweet/sour and with a brine that was like blood. We discovered that it is amazing with any kind of meat and even better mixed into salad.

Today I made his borscht. Here's a variation on it:

Saute about 2 or 3 onions in a soup pot until brown in grapeseed oil. I had giant ones so I just used 2 and I sauteed for over 15 minutes.

chop and add:

2 carrots
1 root veggie (he calls for potato, so I used celery root. I'm sure turnip or something similar would also be good and add less salt to the result.)

Add 2 cups of pickled beets
Add 6 cups of water

Toast and grind up 1 tablespoon of caraway and add that.

Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes. Put into blender and blend until smooth.

Allow the soup to sit in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours and possibly all night, since it's better the following day.

Heat it up, put in a bowl and drizzle with a few spoons full of coconut milk or dairy kefir or yogurt.

Seriously, it's amazing. My one complaint is that it's a bit too salty. I think that next time I will rinse the beets before adding and will probably use a root other than celery.