this week was full of downtime compared to the weeks that are to come, so i wanted to make sure to cook a lot of healthy and delicious meals. and man, did i ever. i picked up a couple of beets at the farmers’ market last weekend specifically with the intention of making a huge pot of borscht for the coming week. you know, that funny pink eastern european soup that nobody really seems to like.
well, after eating my way through poland last month, i vowed that i would make my own after i got home. i found polish barszcz to be a bit sweeter and more brothy than i was hoping for. but on my last night in poland we found ourselves at an amazing ukranian restaurant in szczecin called ukraineczka (definitely worth visiting!) and had our first taste of ukrainian borscht. now this is what i’m talking about! it was saltier, full of vegetables and had a nice beet and tomato balance. this would be my borscht.
adapted from this recipe, makes 8 servings. you’ll need…
>> 2 large beets, shredded (or 3 small ones)
>> 1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
>> ½ a small cabbage, shredded
>> 2 carrots, shredded
>> 2 potatoes (or 3 small ones), chopped
>> 1 medium onion, chopped
>> 3 cloves garlic, minced
>> sprinkling of parsley (for garnish, if you’ve got it)
>> butter or cooking oil of choice
>> sour cream or yogurt for serving (optional)
1) don’t forget to wear an apron before shredding the beets! (those suckers stain) place beets into a large pot and fill pot halfway with water. bring to a boil & cover the pot. let boil for 15 minutes.
2) add the carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and can of tomatoes. lower heat to medium.
3) meanwhile, melt some butter or cooking oil of your choice in a pan over medium-heat. add the onion and cook until tender.
4) add the cooked onions to the pot and add a bit of water (anywhere between ¾ cup and 1 ½ cup depending on how large your pot is). add the raw garlic, stir, and remove from heat.
5) season to your liking with salt and pepper. if you are into a sweeter soup you can add a little sugar, but i omitted it. serve hot with a sprinkling of pepper, sour cream, parsley, and with a side of buttered noodles or šumava toast.
what is šumava toast? alex and i discovered it while on holiday in the czech šumava forest last spring! it’s a slice of bread, fried in butter on both sides, and served with a clove of garlic that the diner is to rub on the toast. super czech. and i’m sure there’s a much better name for it, but this was the name on the menu of the joint we went to, so that was that.
this borscht is a great soup to make for those who are unsure about the taste of borscht (it’s not too beet-y) or who want to cook something with beets and aren’t sure what to make. the taste will win you over and it’s super healthy and handy to have around for a quick lunch.
i have a feeling this will be the first of many sunday cookin’s to come! have you ever tried a food while travelling and added it to your cooking repertoire? (what was it? tell me in the comments) happy sunday!