Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Russian Borscht

Not too long ago, I wrote about Russian Lasagne, a dish we regularly serve at work. I said in that post that I cannot give out the recipe because my boss would not be too happy with me, and I mentioned also that I often make borscht at work, and that I cannot share that recipe with you because it could get nasty around the shop.

So, I'll provide you with some pictures instead, some background info on borscht, and give you some hints as to what you can to do make a borscht similar to mine - making sure to be careful that I reveal nothing at all of the much-protected secret recipe.

Here is a good Wikipedia article about borscht in general. Indeed, most borschts I've had in my life have involved beets, and I am not a fan of beets. Thus, I've never been a real fan of borscht. Until this one came into my life with its two cups of cream and one cup of butter. This hearty soup, that contains a whack of cabbage and more than two but less than four pounds of potatoes, is quite common in these parts since we have a significant Doukhobor population here. Many Doukhobors in this area are vegetarians, and so this soup doesn't contain any meat. Root vegetables, as evidenced in this article, are very important in borscht. Indeed, apart from the potatoes already mentioned, a certain orange root vegetable with a vaguely phallic shape is also a part of my borsch. Also, more than two but less than three cups a huge ton of those things that are round, contain many layers, and make you cry when you slice them are required.

Since the work recipe doesn't contain beets, it must have something to give it a red colour. Use three tins of diced tomatoes your imagination. In terms of seasoning, think of a popular pickle flavour and triple it. Salt & pepper. Etc.

Now, I don't always add the stipulated green pepper. Though I know it's kind of traditional, see here, sometimes I can't be bothered, and no one has ever said anything when I don't add it. But, when I do at it, it does brighten the soup up a bit and make it look a little perkier.

This is a spectacular soup, we always sell out, and I never work on Fridays when it's served. I do, however, savour the moments I get to adjust the seasonings, using several tasting spoons to get it all just right. I love it. What else can I say?

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