borscht“Tell Sherry that I love the Borscht,” my nine-year-old daughter, Julia, said to me.  I assured her that I would.  My kids were eating in the kitchen and I had several women over for dinner and we were in the dinning room.  My friend, Sherry Isaac, who has a monthly online newsletter, Wildflower, had volunteered to make a Liechtenstein meal for my blog, EatPlanet.

Sherry made Cabbage rolls, Ikra (eggplant salsa) and Honey Gingerbread cake, but our favorite was the Borscht.  It was a hearty soup made up of root vegetables, mainly beets that gave it a beautiful rich red color.  It also consisted of ground pork, carrots, potatoes, onion, cabbage and tomatoes.  The soup was warm and comforting and a great way to get in your daily vegetables.

Borscht is a popular soup in Eastern and Central European countries, though it is believed to have originated in the Ukraine.  There are two kinds of Borscht:  hot and cold.  The hot is the most common and includes meat and many vegetables, in addition to the beets.  Cold Borscht is not as hearty and is vegetarian.  A common way to eat it is with a dollop of sour cream.

Borscht – Vegetable Soup with Beets

454 g ground pork (optional)

3 medium beets, peeled and shredded

3 carrots, peeled and shredded

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1-6 ounce can tomato paste

¾ c water

½ head of cabbage, shredded

1-8 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Raw sugar to taste, approximately 1 tsp

Sour cream and fresh parsley for garnish

Brown ground pork over medium heat until no longer pink, drain and set aside.  In a large soup pot, bring 2 litres of water to a boil. Add sausage and beets – cook until the beets have lost their colour. Add carrots and potatoes, cook until tender.  Add cabbage and canned tomatoes.

In a skillet, heat oil and cook onion until tender. Stir in tomato paste and ¾ c water until smooth.  Add to soup. Add garlic, cover, and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes then season with salt, pepper and sugar. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and parsley if desired.