Friday, February 17, 2012

Pink Soup!

Ok so the Pink Soup is Borscht... but before you all stick your noses up at this notion, please hear me out!
I had never had this soup before. In my mind I saw those Manischevitz jars in the grocery store. All purple-y and stuff. Not really appetizing. I try all sorts of new things. I've always loved sampling new flavors and cuisines. Borscht, however, was never on my list of things to try. 

A few of my girlfriends and I were invited over for a small luncheon after our yoga class the other day. My friend Lisa had prepared a wonderful meal... I noticed something very pretty simmering on the stove. It was pink, nearly purple but mostly pink. She had asked if any of us liked, or had ever had Borscht before. None of us had. A couple even wrinkled their noses at the idea. 

"I want you all to try this," she said. In a motherly way she assured us we didn't have to like it and she wouldn't be offended if we didn't. There were a couple non beet eaters among us. We were instructed to take a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze in some lemon. We hadn't realized that the lemon was for the soup so we all squeezed ours in to our Evian waters!

We did as we were told. I stirred in the sour cream. The soup was an amazing color. I cut a thick slice of baguette. I took a spoonful... a little earthy... a bit tart... I could taste the cumin and coriander, and very slightly the beets... mostly it seemed like a menage of vegetables. We all scraped our bowls dry! You could hear the silver spoons feverishly scraping against the pottery. Eventually, I ripped off a piece of the crusty baguette and wiped the bowl dry! 

So here is the recipe for Borscht, with a Lebanese twist!

1 lb. Raw beets ( usually 3 or 4 medium beets)
1 large cooking apple (I use 1 medium granny smith and 1 medium honey crisp or gala)
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
6 oz white mushrooms
1tsp. Ground cumin
1tsp caraway seed ( I used fennel seed because it's what I had available)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 of fresh lemon
1 box of low sodium chicken stock 32 oz.)
2 cups water( add a little more water if veggies are not covered)

Scrub beets so they are clean. Peel any cracked or dirty areas. Chop beets into 2 to 3 inch pieces
Cut onions and mushrooms apple and celery into similar size pieces.

Add 3 tblsp of olive oil and 1 tblsp of butter in a heavy stock pot, add veggies and 1/2 tsp salt
Sweat the veggies over medium heat until they start to release juices. ( about 20 minutes)

Add spices,stock,water and lemon juice, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt
Bring to a boil, then simmer,covered, for 45 min. Or until veggies are soft but not mushy.

Usually I cool overnight but if you want to use right away please be careful when you purée the hot veggies,(remove small opening on top of blender to let steam escape when blending hot veggies. Hold top of blender tight when blending hot veggies.

Scoop or strain veggies into blender or processor and reserve cooking liquid in stock pot.
You will have to blend veggies in a few batches. After veggies are pureed add back into reserved cooking liquid and mix to incorporate purée. Taste for salt.
Reheat if blended cold.
Freezes well.

Serve with a wedge of lemon and dollop of sour cream, cracked black pepper.

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