gardening / Soup

Borscht a.k.a. Beet Soup: The Canadian Food Harvest (Challenge #6)

Picture by Lesli Christianson-Kellow

Picture by Lesli Christianson-Kellow

I`m gonna be honest – I don’t live on a farm, but I still take my harvesting serious in the fall. Not with a tractor or combine, but you know, with my hands – the old fashion way. From my raised garden beds, I pluck up carrots, beets, swiss chard, and dill right up until the end of October if I’m lucky. I know that unless the frost is hard, that even the greens of my swiss chard will be vital enough to make a feta infused spanokopita.

The beets get stretched out as long as possible, afterall, they are a root vegetable and even if the greens are lost in a frost the beet itself is still safe until the ground freezes.

fresh beets

This year I made my last pot of Borscht straight from my garden only a few weeks ago.

It`s a funny thing about Borscht. I’ve seen recipes that are completely different than how I was taught to make it in my family. The Borscht I make is completely vegetable based. I add sour cream at the end, but a person could leave the cream out and just dollop it on top as it was served if they wanted. I’ve seen other versions where the recipe starts off with a beef broth. This shocks me. I’ve also seen beef added to the recipe, but honestly if you want a wholesome meatless meal then this is a keeper.

What about the kids or fussy people in your house? Well, you’d be surprised at who ends up eating this Borscht. The beets lend a slightly sweet taste to the soup, so it seems to appeal to even selective eaters. The colour is also a novelty, not to mention the antioxidants that are in such a deep coloured root vegetable.

And where did this recipe come from? From my mom, who got it from her mom, who got it from her mom, who got it from her mom – this recipe is an original. Nope, I didn’t ‘adapt’ it from this chef or that recipe book, this is the real deal. This is a family recipe and I’ve only met one other person who makes a Borscht similar to this. (Likely we are related through some connection back in the ‘old country’).

Borscht (Makes a big pot)

A bunch of beets, chopped (a good handful like the picture above, including the greens)
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped (when seasonal I substitute garlic chives)
1 cup of green peas, frozen is okay
1 big handful of dill, chopped fine
750 ml of sour cream, preferably 5-10% m.f.
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 T. white vinegar

Chop the beets. Chop the beets greens by grabbing bunches of the greens and slicing into fairly thin ribbons (not into chunks). Place all of the beets and beet greens into a large pot and fill 3/4 full of water. Add the carrots, potatoes and green onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer until vegetables are cooked. Then add the peas, dill and vinegar.

To add the sour cream: Ladle about 2 cups of the soup into a large spouted bowl, then half of the sour cream. Add to the soup and gently mix. Repeat this procedure until all of the sour cream is gone. Gently mix the soup. It will at first be a light pink, but then turn a rich, dark pink as it sits.

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.


One thought on “Borscht a.k.a. Beet Soup: The Canadian Food Harvest (Challenge #6)

  1. Pingback: The Canadian Food Experience Project: Challenge Six

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