Tuesday, April 07, 2009


As my last post noted, we had an extremely busy weekend, but thanks to the slow cooker I was able to put together a borsch and a pot of baked beans.

The borsch has come out more orange than deep purple red, partly due to the long cooking time, it bleaches the colour out of the beetroot, and partly because carrots are part of the recipe.

Said recipe comes from my Russian Cookery by Nina Petrovia, a Penguin Handbook, 1968 that I found in a second hand shop many moons ago. As Nina notes, there are many varieties of borsch and its especially popular in south Russia. The main ingredient of borsch is, of course, beetroot, and also more often than not, cabbage. Borsch is often served with pirog which are a form of dumpling or kasha, a buckwheat porridge. I made neither of these and I managed to find the only borsch recipe that didn't have cabbage either.

Clear beetroot borsch
(serves 5)
2 1/2 pts beef stock or water (I used homemade chicken stock)
1/2 pound mixed root veggies (carrot, turnip, parsnip - I used potato, parsnip and carrot)
3/4 lb raw beetroot (I used one bunch of five medium sized beetroot)
1 onion
2 dried mushrooms (optional and I left them out)
2 peppercorns
1 clove garlic
1 bayleaf
juice 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
1/3 pint sour cream

If you use the dried mushrooms, soak in a little water for several hours before making the soup. The water they have been soaked in can be added to the stock. Peel and wash the veggies and cut them into fine strips (I skipped this step as I intended to blend my soup). Put all veggies, except beetroot and dried mushrooms, into a saucepan with the stock or water (I added a large slosh of white wine as well). Add peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and boil for 10 - 15 minutes. Add the beetroot and dried mushrooms and simmer a further 20 - 30 minutes. Salt to taste. Add sugar and lemon juice. Strain and serve with one tab of sour cream per bowl.

As I said above, I used the slow cooker and flung everything in together and it cooked all day and so even when I added the lemon juice at the end it was hard to get the red jewel like colour to return. I also blended my soup and I forgot the sugar.

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