Borscht is one of those soups that I never wanted to try. There was something about beet soup that didn’t quite tickle my tastebuds. Until one day when I finally tried it at one of my favourite Montreal Polish restaurants, Stash Café. I was hooked. Sweet, yet savory and so delicious! It’s now become part of my regular order.
I never thought about making borscht at home until I recently came across a recipe in a magazine. Only then did I realize how easy it was to make. So on Monday morning, I gathered my ingredients and planned an afternoon in the kitchen preparing my first batch of borscht. After making a few changes and adjustments to the recipe, here I had this beautiful deep pink soup, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a few sprigs of fresh dill. The contrasting colours are just so beautiful! And yes, it tastes as good as it looks.
Beautiful Beet Borscht
2 lbs fresh beets
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
5 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 cups parsnip, peeled and chopped
3/4 tsp sea salt, divided
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Greek yogurt, as garnish
Fresh dill, as garnish
1. Peel beets and cut into 2-inch pieces.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the coriander evenly in the bottom of the pan and cook for 1 minute stirring frequently. Add garlic and onion, and cook for 12 more minutes, until the onion is tender.
3. Add the beets and tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute. Add 5 cups of water and the bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beets are very tender. Remove bay leaves .
4. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the parsnip and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the parsnip is tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Place the beet mixture in a blender. Remember to only fill it halfway and remove the centre piece of the lid to avoid any messy surprises. Blend until smooth, then return the pureed soup to a pan set over medium heat. Continue in batches until all the beet mixture has been pureed.
6. Once the soup has been pureed, add the parsnip, cider vinegar and pinch of salt. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
7. Serve soup in a bowl, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a few sprigs of fresh bill.
[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]