Sunday, October 14, 2012

Monica's Borscht

My borscht has always been vegetarian so I just use water and my onion sauté to create the stock.  It keeps it very fresh and healthful and relies on the flavor of the veg.  You may of course use another stock but I'm not sure what would work best.

1 whole onion chopped

about equal amounts (though I prefer a little more beets)
approx 4 cups each of:
chopped potato and 
beets and 

fresh beet greens (whatever you have)
fresh dill to taste
optional fresh flat leaf parsley
sour cream or plain yogurt (greek works best)

Sauté chopped onions in oil in the soup pot until tender.  
Add a little salt.
I add fresh crushed garlic, tsp of cumin, tsp dry dill. Stir.
Add fresh dill and peeled, chopped potatoes. Stir.
Add enough water to cover twice to three times the height of the potatoes depending on whether you like it brothy or not.
Add salt and adjust spicing. 
Allow to reach soft rolling boil.
Add peeled, chopped beets.
Allow to reach soft rolling boil.
Add chopped cabbage.
Soft rolling boil.
Add chopped beet greens . (these are very tender and cook up right away)  (sometimes I have also added grated carrot here too) Add fresh pepper and optional parsley and more fresh dill if desired.

Serve in bowls and add spoonful of either sour cream or plain thick yogurt to each bowl.  
Each can adjust salt and pepper.

A frost was creeping in Friday night, hard enough to murder nasturtiums and nudge the trees to shed their leaves.  So, I transplanted basil, thyme and chives to a pot, stuck in a few cilantro seeds and placed it on the kitchen windowsill for winter herbs. I put a cold frame over the habanero in hopes that it might still ripen a few chiles.

Only the beets and parsnips look happy.  I pulled up two handfuls of the beets for borscht, and dug the last half-row of potatoes.  The few turnips in the ground had turned to an odorous, gelatinous goo.    Carrots had been poorly, and half-heartedly planted in drought and never amounted to much.  Instead, I had let purslane and a couple of stray stalks of lambs quarter spread and mature - two weeds that are good for eating.

Nuthatches, chickadees and titmice had already been working on the sunflowers, but I cut off the tops and stuck them in the bird feeders outside the kitchen so we could watch.  The cat was most entertained.