So, it’s raining outside. People keep telling me I ought to get used to it, that this is what it does all winter long in my new hometown of Abbotsford BC. I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually, but in the meantime I am combating the cold and damp with one of my favorite recipes: Warm, cozy, delicious borscht.
There’s something wholesome, simple and ever-so-comforting about borscht. Maybe it’s the hearty, healthy root vegetables mixed with the warm flavor of beef broth. Maybe it’s the way a dollop of sour cream adds a hint of richness to this down-to-earth recipe. Maybe it’s the way it makes you feel full without feeling too heavy. All I know is, there’s nothing I’d rather have on a rainy day.
This recipe isn’t so much a recipe as a bunch of things I throw into a pot and leave there until they turn into soup, so feel free to make all the adjustments you want. Base your quantities of vegetables on the size of the pot you are using. If you don’t want a vegetarian dish, use smaller quantities of vegetables and toss in a flat of stewing beef; just make sure to brown it first so that it doesn’t make your soup oily.
This recipe is easy to make, but it takes time to cook, so plan ahead and start early.
3-5 whole beets
1 large onion, diced
2-3 carrots, chopped
3-4 sticks of celery, chopped
1-1 ½ cups shredded cabbage
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2-3 cubes of beef bouillon
Juice from 1 lime
Salt, pepper and dill to taste.
Roast the beets for one hour in a 350f oven. Let them cool for a few minutes and chop them into small cubes. You might want to wear gloves for this part, because beet juice is hard to wash out and dries to a yucky brown colour on your skin.
In a large pot, saute the onions, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes over medium heat in a bit of olive oil. If you are using beef, add it now. Add the beets, potatoes and cabbage.
Pour in hot water until the soup pot is as full as you want it to be. Add the bouillon cubes. Bring the soup to a boil for about ten minutes. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and dill. Let the soup simmer for at least an hour. If you want a thicker soup, puree it with an immersion blender, but you can skip this step if you like.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream in each bowl.