As always, Meal to Share is our monthly collaboration where we each cook a course for a themed meal – so don’t forget to check out their posts for the rest of the meal. This month’s theme is “Russian” and I was allocated entree.
Entree: Borscht, made by me
Dessert: Kissel, a fruit soup made by Penny
From my research on the internets, borscht is a soup of Ukrainian origin, that is commonly eaten in Russia. There’s a ton of variations, but mostly beetroot is the main ingredient which gives the soup a beautiful crimson hue and earthy sweetness.
Mine is a bit of a “best of borscht” because I didn’t follow one recipe. Instead, I cobbled together the parts I liked from various recipes I looked at on the Internet. 🙂 Into my borscht I had beetroot (natch), potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions, cabbage, carraway seeds, red wine vinegar and beef osso bucco. The beef osso bucco was because I didn’t have time to make beef stock, so wanted to add some beef bones as well as meat. I wanted a big chunk of meat that I could cook in the soup until tender, and then pull out in one piece so I could puree the rest of the soup. Osso bucco was on sale, so it was perfect for what I had in mind.
The resulting soup was a thick, hearty number. It had a bit of sharpness from the vinegar but I was a bit disappointed that the earthy beetroot sweetness was lost amongst the other vegetables (potato, I’m blaming you!). If I were to do it again, I would leave out the potato. However, it was still a good soup and I loved the colour, so I’ll call it an almost-best-of-borscht!
PS: If you have a hankering for a chilled beetroot soup, I made a really good one last year.
Large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons carraway seeds
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
Handful of chopped cabbage
1kg beef osso bucco
Several tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat a splash of oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and carraway seeds. Cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrots, potatoes, beetroot, cabbage, beef osso bucco and add enough water to cover.
Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer until the beef is tender, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
When the beef is tender, lift it out and set aside. Using a hand blender, puree the rest of the soup until smooth.
Pull the beef off the bone and cut/pull the meat into bite sized chunks. Discard the bones.
Return the beef to the soup. Taste and add red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. It should be a bit sharp.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired.