9 February 2008

No Croutons Required for White Vegetarian Borscht

White Vegetarian Borscht 

Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen and Holler of Tinned Tomatoes have started a monthly event No Croutons Required . This months challenge is Vegetarian Soup. Holler was one of the very first people I "met" since the conception of my blog. She has a delicious vegetarian blog from Scotland. In the past I have nominated her for my Droolworthy Blogger award. One of the great things about blogging, as we all know, is finding new friends through our blogs. Therefore through Holler I have come across Lisa's blog as well. Way to go girls :D I'm sure this event will be a big success!!!!

I have made this soup many times. It is called White Vegetarian Borscht...although I am not quite sure why since it is red due to the addition of the beets. My daughters favourite Borscht at the Woodfire Bakery is actually white in colour. It is packed full of delicious root vegetables, so, is a perfect soup for this time of the year with beets, carrots, celery root, potato, parsnip... and the standard borscht ingredient cabbage. If you have them add the beet tops as well...waste not want not. This recipe comes from Soup, A Way of Life by Barbara Kafta... an excellent cookbook. To use her own words, "When I am tired and want comfort, or when I want to share happiness or just when I want something full of flavour, my desire is soup.

Soup in general is wide open to interpretation . For every cook there is a different version of every kind of soup out there. Soup uses up all the vegetables you have hanging around in the fridge and with the addition of different spices and flavourings you can always come up with something flavourful and comforting. For example I had some tomatoes kicking around that I also added to the soup pot. Soup is a vital part of our lives!!!!!!

**White Vegetarian Borscht**

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ lb white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced ¼-inch thick (optional)
1 large onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
10 small or 7 to 8 medium beets, peeled, quartered and cut across into 1/4-inch dice
If the beet greens look nice, use half, and cut across in narrow strips
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut across into ¼-inch dice
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut across into ¼-inch dice
1 very small or ½ medium celery root, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ small white cabbage, shredded
3 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and very finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium bunch dill, coarsley chopped
4 tablespoons sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Coarsely chopped dill
Sour cream

Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid. Strain all the cooking liquid through a coffee filter or cloth. Reserve the liquid (there should be 1 cup) and the mushrooms separately.

In a tall, narrow stockpot, warm the oil over medium heat. Stir in the fresh mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.

Add the beets, carrots, parsnips, celery root, 8 cups water and the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cabbage, garlic, and if using, the beet greens. Dissolve the tomatoe paste in ½ cup of the liquid, and stir back into the soup. Return to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the soaked dried mushrooms, and simmer for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the dill, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pass around the bowls of the chopped dill and sour cream for garnish.

Serves 8

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Oh that looks soooo good. I have a bunch of organic, locally grown beets right now so I think I might try this this week!!!

  2. I've never had beets in a soup before. This sounds delicious and you are right about the greens.

  3. Val, the pic is taken nicely and I suppose it's white from all the non-beet ingredients or...a reference to the White Russians?

    We could start an urban myth!

  4. That sounds tasty and healthy. I like all of the vegetables in it!

  5. That looks like an amazingly tasty soup Val! I like the ingredients, the addition of beets sounds good!

    Thanks for entering the challenge and for being such a great friend!

    I raise my glass of margarita to you!

  6. Looks like a very filling soup; I'm loving this event- there will be so many wonderful soups to choose from!

  7. Beautiful picture!
    You and I must be thinking alike, lately.

    I've always wanted to make borscht. Soon...I promise.

  8. That looks amazing Valli. I might make and send her one too. Indians have plenty of veg soup recipes anyway!:))

  9. Soup is the ultimate winter food. And I love beets so I'll have to try this out. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh this really is up my street Val, great ingredients and it looks so tempting and delicious mmmm...

    I have also awarded you for “Nice Matters”, please take a look on my blog


    Rosie x

  11. Oh, this looks really good! I love borscht.

  12. I have been craving beets lately, am I missing a nutrient? (See above) This soup looks great Valli and I hope to get mine done after my guests leave and before the deadline!

  13. Beautiful photo Val!! Makes me want to stick my spoon in there!

  14. Hola Val, I might get into this too, soups are the best... in winter. I never have a soup during our summer. Yours looks so comforting!

  15. I like the idea of adding mushrooms.

  16. I just clicked on your Borscht pic. What a gorgeous looking soup!
    I've had this soup a couple of times at our Russian friends' place. It was so good!

  17. Your soup is a work of art! It's every bit as beautiful as it sounds!


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