Wednesday, July 2, 2008
What's Cooking Wednesday - Jen's Rockin' Summer Vegetable Soup
Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.
I think if I were going to create a dedicated food blog, I'd call it Vegetables in My Sink. Now, that might not sound very appetizing, but one way I can know if I've had a good cooking day is if there are vegetable bits in the sink, because that means I've been using my cutting board repeatedly. I compost, and we don't have many scraps, but inevitably bits and pieces stray from the board or my favorite santoku knife.
One of my favorite summer vegetable preparations is real Russian Borsch. This has nothing to do with the jarred "stuff" you get in the supermarket and serve chilled. I know that's an addiction for some, but it almost permanently put me off beets.
Until I lived in Russia and had the real thing. Now, Borsch in Russia varies by region and maybe even by town, and shows the individual stamp of that part of the country. I was first taught how to make Borshch from my friend Rimma, and she taught me a Ukrainian variant, which made sense, because I lived in Krasnodar, which is not far from the southern Ukraine.
I make Borsch all summer long. I wait until Tantre has delivered beets and carrots and cabbage to my box, because those are the basics for my version. A couple of weeks ago, there were beets and carrots, but no cabbage (it's just too early). It was also getting to be the end of my Tantre week. I not only wanted to use those beets and carrots, but I had some other things to use up - spinach, chicken broth (my Borsch recipe is vegan, so I couldn't use the broth for that), and carrot tops (which are excellent in soup, btw).
So, I decided to experiment - I was going to combine Borsch with another summer tomato soup favorite, and use the chicken broth. Well... this was one of those experiments where you say, "ALL RIGHT!" when you're done, and if you feel like doing a victory dance, well, you can do that, too.
You pour this baby over some stale baguette or any other bread broken into pieces, shave some good quality parmesan (hey, use some Reggiano, if you've got it), and you are good to go for a RICH, lovely meal. So I give you...
Jen's Rockin' Summer Vegetable Soup
2 cups of chicken broth (home made, preferably)
4 cups of organic vegetable broth (or, for a vegan version, use all vegetable broth)
2 - 3 beets, peeled
equivalent of 2 - 3 carrots (I used 8 tiny carrots from our farm share)
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (or stewed or the equivalent)
equivalent of 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (I used 8 spring onion bulbs)
2 cups of carrot tops, chopped
6 cups of spinach, rinsed well and torn into small pieces
1 pinch each - dried oregano, dried parsley, cayenne pepper and 2 - 3 pinches of dried basil
1. Heat broths (or broth) to a low boil.
2. Add whole beets and cook for 10 minutes
3. Using a food processor or grater, etc., julienne cooked beets. Julienne the carrots, as well.
4. Add all the other ingredients.
5. Heat at a simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.