Thursday, April 19, 2012

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The..The...The Beets!

If you grew up in the 90's I hope you know my reference in the title! If not, I don't know you. It's of course from one of the best cartoons ever created. Doug! Oh how i miss nickelodeon when it actually was good. Just like when MTV ACTUALLY had music.

Inspired by curiosity and childhood cartoons lead me to today's post. If you were a fan of the Rugrats, to the extent that I was, you may remember the episode where Chuckie gets sprayed by a skunk, and the only way to get rid of the stench was......(I'll give you a hint..)

(picture courtesy of wikipedia)

Yes, soup! But do you remember what kind? Tomato? No. Chicken Noodle? Double no. Russian Borscht? Of course! Yes, borscht. Probably the only time I have ever heard of such a thing prior to stumbling upon it in my Simply Vegetarian! cookbook.

It's a pretty humble, earthy soup that stars beets to give it a vibrant hue. If you are a fan of beets, this is the soup to make. It's SO simple and this recipe makes an unexpected huge amount! It's inexpensive, and a great way to try some earthy vegetables!

Russian Borscht
serves ~8 (1.5 cup ea.)
adapted from Simply Vegetarian! cookbook

1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 medium potatoes, chopped
4 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
10 cups water
1 cup tomato sauce (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coriander

This is about the simplest recipe to make. Start by chopping up the onion, potatoes, carrots and beets, and adding to a large stockpot. Make sure they all are roughly the same size.

*Note of caution: It is wise to use a plastic cutting board, and if you have them some rubber gloves. Cutting the beets turns everything they touch a vibrant hue of ruby. The color will come off your hands after a good washing, but be aware of clothing or a wood cutting board as it may get stained. As you can see my hands look like a bloody mess after chopping!

Bloody Beets!

After the veggies are chopped, shred your cabbage in a food processor with the attached shred blade. If you don't have a food processor you can always thinly slice your cabbage by hand, which won't take too long. Just be sure to remove the woody root end of the cabbage, which you can see in the picture below.

 Cut out the core at the bottom of the cabbage.

Add the cabbage, seasonings, water, and optional tomato sauce to the pot. I've seen recipes that use tomato sauce, so since I already had a can open, I decided to add the leftover to the pot. I'm sure it won't make that much of a difference if you don't add it.

Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Serve either hot or chilled with a dollop of low-fat sour cream or greek yogurt. I must say that makes the difference to this soup! The creaminess of the greek yogurt balances out the earthiness perfectly!

*Another note of caution: Depending on how much/often you eat this soup, you may notice a color change in the toilet. Don't be alarmed! It is a harmless side effect to the potent color the fresh beets give off, but just be warned if you see a bit of a red hue in your poo! ;) Haha!

I really enjoyed this soup, and felt like a russian grandma chopping away all those root veggies! It make a great amount, which I even cut back from the original, but felt it needed some more liquid. Adjust to your taste and enjoy a taste of a russian classic!

What's your favorite type of soup?

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