Vegetarian Red Borscht
A traditional vegetable soup made for centuries throughout Eastern Europe and well loved in Russia and Poland, borscht has origins in present-day Ukraine. There are white versions, made with potatoes and cabbage, and green versions, made with sorrel and spinach. Most familiar, though, is the red version, made with beets. Many recipes add simmered beef, lamb or pork, but here, the meat is skipped for a quick-cooking vegetarian red borscht.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1cup diced celery
- 1large leek, diced (about 1 cup)
- Salt and pepper
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 1teaspoon paprika
- ½teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1bay leaf
- 1thyme sprig
- 1pound Yukon Gold or other starchy potatoes (about 6 potatoes), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
- 1pound medium beets (about 6 beets), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
- ½pound medium carrots (about 4 carrots), peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
- 3cups chopped kale
- 1tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste
- 2tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
- 1tablespoon lemon juice
- ½teaspoon salt
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- 1cup crème fraîche or thick sour cream
- Dill, parsley, tarragon and chives, for garnish
Step 1Put olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Step 2When oil is hot, add onion, celery and leek, stir to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring, until onion has softened and just begun to brown. Add garlic, tomato paste, paprika, caraway, bay leaf and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
Step 3Add potatoes, beets and carrots, 6 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a brisk simmer. Simmer with lid ajar for 20 minutes, or until potatoes, beets and carrots are fork tender.
Step 4Add kale and vinegar, and stir to distribute. Taste broth and adjust seasoning. Simmer until kale is done, about 8 minutes.
Step 5Meanwhile, make the horseradish cream: Put horseradish, lemon juice, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Let macerate 5 minutes, then stir in crème fraîche.
Step 6To serve, ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with chopped dill, parsley, tarragon and chives. Pass the horseradish cream at the table.