BORSCH, IRINA SHVED'S (Beet Soup)
The Book Club Cookbook - by Judy Gelman, Vicki Levy Krupp
Although the origin of borsch is debated, it is a distinctive feature of Russian cuisine, and many variations of the soup exist throughout regions of Eastern Europe. It is served hot or cold, thick or thin, and with or without meat. Many Russian immigrants in Montana became successful wheat farmers, and they brought their traditional cuisine, such as borsch, with them. Shved, who was raised in Russia, shared with us the recipe for Russian borsch she learned from her mother.
Yield: 8 servings
1 pound chicken, beef, or pork
2 - 3 peeled uncooked beets (about 1 pound)
2 - 3 carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
16 -ounce can tomato paste or 3 tablespoons ketchup
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1) Fill a soup pot with 3 quarts of water and place over high heat. Add the chicken, beef or pork to the pot. Add the beets, carrots, potato, and bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Remove beets and place in a bowl to cool. Add the cabbage to the soup.
2) Shred the beets using a grater. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and saute onions until golden. Add the shredded beets and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and heat until bubbling. Add the mixture to the soup pot and simmer 30 minutes, or until meat is tender.
3) Remove the meat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with parsley, chives, and sour cream, and a loaf of freshly baked bread.