Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Amanda's Vegetarian Borscht Recipe (can easily be made vegan)



Very inexpensive and easy, yet very rich! I've been perfecting this soup for awhile and it can be made by even the most culinary challenged. I'm very firm believer in Eastern European cooking having haunted Old Kraków in West Portal, and Russian Renaissance in the Richmond (both in San Francisco) when it was still open for buisness.

Any Eastern European foodie will tell you that the beet is omnipotent! In Kraków, Poland, the borscht I had I was clear, very flavourful and usually comes with perogie. I've never been to Moscow but I've heard that it's full of meat, while our Little Georgia Cafe in Haggerston, E2, London tends to cook a carrot heavy version substituting yoghurt for sour cream as the accompanier. This version I like best simply because it's so flavourful and beetcentric. This soup is supremely healthy as well even if it is not crammed full of vegetables which would only detract from the beets.

Rather than use vegetable stock which can be time consuming to make and/or full of salt if you buy it prefab, the stock for this soup is comprised of split pea soup and marinara sauce. I know it sounds odd but you taste neither peas nor tomato sauce just yummy rich beets and that great borscht flavour. The peas make the broth rich, the tomato sauce gives it depth.

Ingredients:

2 cups or one can/carton of vegetarian split pea soup with minimal spices.
Andersens split pea without bacon is great. If you are in the UK than Tesco's Pea and Mint Soup works too)

3/4 cup of marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoons of tarragon, oregano, nutmeg, pepper
2 tablespoons parsley flakes or a handful of fresh chopped parsley
Half a golden onion chopped
1 cup of chopped baby cut carrots
6 cloves of pressed garlic (can be omitted for equally delicious soup)
3 to 4 medium size beets grated (I prefer to grate them right into the stock as it's cooking)
2 tablespoons butter (omit if vegan)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 to 8 cups of water
Sour cream and of Greek style yoghurt as a topping
salt optional

Directions: In a 2-3/4 soup pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat, then add and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and spices and herbs in the melted butter and olive oil. Add the pea soup, tomato sauce and stir in three cups of water until heated (it will look very un-borscht like but don't worry!)

Gradually add in or grate the beets over medium heat. Three beets works fine, an extra beet will not only make the soup thicker but allow you to add water if you are running short spooning out leftovers the next day. Add additional water. I like about a cup and 1/2 of water for each beet but you should fine tune the consistency to your liking. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Tastes fantastic with sour cream, Greek yoghurt is fabulous as well. Serves four. This soup keeps fabulously for three days after its made.


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5 Comments:

Blogger par.nordstrom said...

Yay !Borscht ( oughta be transcribed ´borschtj´, really ) is yummiee ! But ye forgot one thing:It should be served wid ´smetana´,verry thick sour cream ! Another eastern European cheapo delicacy is Russian cabbage soup ( schtji ) ( try & pronounce it if ye dare ! ), to be served wid meat or widout , as ye pliz . All ye need is a really flavorful stock/bouillon + cabbage . Good food for an empty wallet .../ Soups r under rated dese days in Western Europe /USA . Dey´re not considered ´fancy enuff ´, I guess. / In Slav + Latin countries, tho , a meal is not considered complete, if it doesn´t include sum kinda soup . Gazpacho in Spain . Onion soup in France ( served wid melted cheese rinds + toast ..YUM!)& of course , minestrone in Italy . In famished ole pre-industrial Sweden , people even used to make soup from potatoes . I´ve tried it & it´s delish !/ Personally I want my soups HOT ! Both temp.-wise + spices . A soup should make ye really SWEAT !!!Sweatin also gives ye a darn good excuse for downin a gallon or 2 of beer ...Mmmmmm...BEER !

5:52 PM  
Blogger Amanda and SuperAmanda™ said...

Ok. how do I say this delicately? Cabbage gives people really bad wind that is why I don't think it works in soups or in large quantities. cabbage is better in things like stuffed cabbage leaves and colcannon.

Vichyssoise is great as a potato soup, even better when made with cauliflower purée!

Oh and of course, the more sour cream the better with Borscht!!

3:07 AM  
Blogger par.nordstrom said...

Okie to yer comment , A.. Dat´s da objection forevva raised against all cabbage dishes . But when yer poor yer ...poor . & then , Who cares abt wind ? ´Da wind cries MAAAARY...´Holy mother of God ...´/ sorry . I couldn´r resist !

6:14 AM  
Blogger Amanda and SuperAmanda™ said...

hahaha!! Poor in sweden is middle class in the US and almost middle class in the UK!

Are you up late drinking in Stockholm??? ahahaha

7:00 AM  
Blogger par.nordstrom said...

OK, A. But what ye fail to see/understand is , dat no more dan 2 generations ago, Sweden was one of Europe´s POOREST countries , along wid Ireland /Scotland . Durin late 19th cent. up til abt mid 20th cent . Sweden poured out / spewed forth like 25 per cent of its pop. to da U.S + Australia ./ & wherevva I go , I find countrymen/paisanos /XX

7:22 AM  

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