February 17, 2013

Warm Vegetarian Borscht For A Cold Evening

My son had a Russian classmate and he used to mention that she brings Borscht for lunch once in a while. He found the ingredients and the bright color very appealing, but his problems were that it had meat and that they serve it cold. So I knew that if at all I make it I had to serve it warm and of course that I would make a vegetarian version.

I am trying out the winter farm share from a farm Close by. It is not working out as well as I wanted. New England is not the best place to grow vegetables in winter, so they have been giving me an abundant supply of potatoes, (which I hardly use in my cooking) and lots of beets,(that too without the greens). I have really been trying to be creative by not wasting them and trying out something new every time I get my delivery. This week was Borscht time. I was not  sure how it would turn out, but was quite surprised with the result and we all loved it.

This weekend, it looks like Siberia when I look outside. So, I guess a Borscht seems like a good fit :)

  • Beets -2 medium
  • Potatoes - 1 large
  • Carrots -2 medium
  • Vegetable broth - 3 cups
  • Fresh or Dried shiitake mushrooms -1 cup
  • Garlic -2-3 cloves
  • Onion -1 medium
  • Black pepper corns - 1tsp.
  • Dried parsley - 1Tbs.
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Lemon juice - from 1 lemon
  • EV olive oil - 1 Tbs.

  • If using dried mushrooms, prepare by soaking them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Drain to use in soup.
  • To make the vegetable broth, I pressure cook all the left over vegetables from my refrigerator (which I won't be able to use up by Friday) with required amount of water and then strain to get broth.
  • Julienne potatoes, carrots and beets very thin. If you have beet greens chop them too, as they will be a welcome addition for nutrition, taste and texture. Chop onion and mince garlic. Chop the mushrooms.
  • Boil the vegetable broth. Add chopped mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and beets and dried parsley and simmer over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil and add garlic and roast till slightly brown, add pepper corns and chopped onion and sauté for a minute or so. Add this to your blender jar along with a couple of scoops from the simmering soup and puree everything well.
  • Add the pureed part back to the soup. Add salt, adjust taste and remove from flame.
  • Add lemon juice and serve warm.

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