This was my first time making borscht but I’ve been thinking about it for a while. The recipe I used was based on one in the book “The Best 125 Meatless Main Dishes” by Mindy Toomay and Susan Geiskopf-Hadler. A coworker passed this book along earlier in the year, I’m glad that I’m finally using it!
I’m not convinced that this picture truly captures the beautiful pink color of this soup. It’s magical, my girlfriend Emily would love to own one of everything in this color. Going into this I knew the soup would be a pink but I didn’t expect such a vibrant cross between fuchsia and magenta. Especially since I had both red and golden beets.
For me, part of the CSA fun is making do with what you have. This is a roundabout way of saying that I didn’t want to spend money on more food when I had a full fridge. The only items I didn’t have on hand were apple juice, lemon juice and (light) sour cream. I figured apple juice and chicken broth, and lemon juice and fresh limes, were close enough so I only needed sour cream. Personally I’m not one to purchase low-fat dairy; I don’t see the point.
Summer Borscht – Beet Soup
- Whole fresh beets – 2 1/2 lbs
- Apple juice (sub. chicken broth) – 2 cups
- (Light) sour cream – 1 cup
- Onion, diced – 1/3 cup
- Lemon juice (sub. lime juice) – 2 tbsp
- Apple cider vinegar – 2 tsp
- Fresh dill, minced – 3 tbsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
Place beets in a stockpot and add enough water to completely submerge them plus 2 more inches of water. Boil over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into each beet pierces completely through with ease. This great way to cook beets in general. It took everything I had to not eat them once they were cooked! Remove beets from the pot and reserve the cooking liquid. Cool beets in a bowl of ice water. When they are cool enough to handle, slip them out of their skins and chop coarsely into a bowl. Put about half the beets into a food processor or blender with half of the apple juice (chicken broth), sour cream, onion, lemon (lime) juice, vinegar, dill, salt, and a cup of the beet cooking liquid. Puree to your desired consistency, from ultra smooth to slightly chunky. Remove to a gallon jar or other large vessel. Puree the other half of the ingredients with another cup of beet cooking liquid, then add to the first batch. Chill the borscht for a few hours before serving.
The results? At first I was under enthused. After a day in the fridge, and a vigorous shake, I was pleasantly surprised. Isn’t soup always better the next day? I should have known. And that color! It’s magnificent, I think I might like pink again.
After sharing the soup with some friends and asking for their input, it was suggested that it would great with a little horseradish; I completely agree. I had thought of that but I’m a huge fan of horseradish and didn’t know if I was just bias towards a little extra kick. If I make this recipe again I’ll try adding some 🙂
Do you have a favorite summer soup? My personal favorite is my great-aunt’s gazpacho which she learned how to make while living in Spain. It’s the most refreshing summer lunch one could imagine. Each bite is a mouthful of garden. I can not wait to have some, only two short weeks from now while I’m home in NY I’ll be enjoying as much as I can handle!