Monday, August 31, 2009

A cyrillic day

Last weekend at the farmer’s market, I purchased some lovely beets, as I had been having a yen for borscht. All my grown up life I have loved borscht, but everyone I have ever lived with has not loved it. How can anyone not love it? It is so beautiful and magenta, and it tastes so uniquely delicious. I planned to make it on Wednesday, but was just too knackered to face all that peeling and chopping. Saturday, the same. I had better make it, I thought, or my lovely beets will go to waste. So yesterday, after my après-church nap, I pulled myself together and got out the vegetable peeler. Once I got going, of course, I enjoyed it, but I had a hard time getting going. I called my aunt to come join me for dinner, but she was not home. Rachael made a face of disgust, muttering something like, “Beets! Blech!” So I had it all to myself. The first taste was a little frisson of delight. It was the best borscht I had ever made. What made it so good? I’m not sure. I didn’t really use a recipe, so it was a bit different from any past borscht. The beets were flavorful and fresh from the farm – at least they had been when I got them. It was the first time I had included the beet greens, the first time I put in any ginger, and the first time I had used the pressure cooker, which may have preserved vegetable flavor via the quick cooking. Whatever it was, it was wonderful. So today I will have a very colorful work lunch, and will have to pray that none of it lands on my white nurse dress. I don’t want that to be colorful as well.

½ cup dried Great Northern (or other white) beans
4 medium sized beets, greens and all
2 small potatoes
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
½ cup of chopped cabbage
½ cup of chopped parsley
1 large or 2 small onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 T vegetable oil
pepper, ground
pinch of cayenne
salt if needed (my vegetarian broth powder is salty so I didn’t need any)
ginger paste, about ½ teaspoon
lime juice from one lime
vegetarian broth, 6 cups (including the bean cooking liquid)
Yogurt for topping

Soak the beans overnight, and pressure cook as directed. Or don't soak them and pressure cool a little longer. Save the liquid and use it as part of the vegetable broth.

Peel the beets, carrots and potatoes, and chop them into fat matchsticks. Chop the parsley, celery, and the beet greens. Chop the onions and garlic.

Sauté the onions till translucent and add in the garlic. Give it a few more stirs. Add in the chopped root vegetables and give them a few stirs. Add the remaining ingredients (except the yogurt, or course), tasting for salt, and pressure cook the lot for about 6 minutes on high pressure. Quick release. If you have no pressure cooker, simmer the soup for about 40 minutes till everything is tender. Serve it with a blob of yogurt in each dish.


rebecca said...

Ick! I hate borscht! Remember when I tried to sneak my bowl of borscht back into the tureen, and you could tell because I had already added sour cream to it?

joannamauselina said...

What an adorable little thing you were! Trying to save your mummies feelings! And still are, I might add.

joannamauselina said...
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Laura said...

Borscht always sounded like something I wouldn't like as a kid so never tried it as an adult! I'm sure my kids would have rebelled too. I get lots of beets though with my farmers market share. The farmers tip was-coat unpeeled beets with a little olive oil and I tossed on some thyme from a bush outside and roasted in the oven. The best part is you don't have to peel-they pop out of their skins. And then are so tasty!