“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.