Yesterday I actually felt up to cooking something (this happens about once a week at this point), and for some reason, borscht sounded like an excellent meal. I think the idea actually came from the newspaper- every day I read my hometown’s local newspaper, the Erie Times-News, and there was an article published yesterday regarding the Troika Festival held annually at Erie’s Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity (although I hate Erie weather, I have to give the city kudos for its abundance of international food celebrations- the result of Erie’s many ethnic communities.) Several recipes accompanied the article, one of which was for borscht.
Anyway, I decided to try out the recipe (my friend Denise has an excellent borscht recipe as well, by the way), with a few tweaks. Normally I am all about cooking from scratch, both because I think the taste is better and because it saves money. On this occasion, though, I cheated and went with pre-washed, pre-chopped veggies. So, in looking at the recipe below, I went with a bag of coleslaw (it has shredded cabbage AND carrots!), canned beets, pre-chopped onions from Publix, and celery sticks that I managed to dice myself. And, despite all the shortcuts, my borscht turned out pretty darn good!
I definitely recommend accompanying it with a dollop of sour cream (if you’re like me, it’s more like a small mountain of sour cream!) and some crusty bread (Denise says Russian black bread, but if you’re going the preggo-style route, Publix makes some awesome rustic bread). Yummy! Denise also reports that borscht freezes really well, so I wrangled the leftovers into some plastic containers and stuck them in the freezer. I can see myself stocking the freezer with this later on in pregnancy, when I’m thinking about those early post-baby meals. Plus, I spent a total of $15 to make a huge pot of soup, including bread, and it made enough for dinner for two, plus four containers for the freezer. Realistically this recipe could be made for much cheaper, especially if you don’t buy pre-prepped veggies.
I think I might have some more tonight, with a few pierogie on the side…
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
8 cups beef or vegetable broth or water
1 carrot, diced
1 potato, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3⁄4 head of cabbage, shredded
1 bay leaf
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or 4 tablespoons ketchup)
3 (16-ounce) cans of sliced beets, diced
Sour cream, optional
1. In a 5-quart soup pot, sauté onion in oil until translucent. Add garlic, sauté one more minute. Add broth or water and bring to a boil. Add potato, carrot and celery. Add cabbage and the remaining ingredients (except the beets). Simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
2. Add diced beets with their juice. Simmer 5 more minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, optional.
Makes 16 servings
— Igor Stalsky
Per serving: 76.6 calories, 2 grams fat, 2.9 grams fiber, 3.8 grams protein, 12.2 grams carbohydrate, 681 milligrams sodium, 0 cholesterol
Values are approximate