This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Empty crisper...we've just about got Borscht!

A hearty soup for a cold day
They say we’ll be getting snow tonight and I wanted to be ready with a hearty soup.  And I’ve got that beef broth from a few days ago that needs a permanent home.  So what’s a gal to do but empty the fridge crisper and see what we can do to make some soup.
    I almost always start my soup recipes by sauteing my mirepoix base (the classic combo of chopped up onion, celery and carrots) in an oil base, usually butter but today I was in a coconut mood so I used virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.  Once the veggies are translucent I’m ready to see what else I can add.  Turns out I had some mushrooms, beets, garlic cloves, tomatoes and parsley plus a few collard greens and I got to thinking this could be pretty close to a Borscht soup.  I didn’t have any potatoes or cabbage but luckily I did have some homemade sauerkraut that I knew would be good to add at the end since cabbage is such an important part of Borscht.  So I added my vegetables and when they had softened nicely I took out my liquid gold (aka homemade stock) and just added it to the mix.  I had some red wine on hand so I put a bit of that in too.  Right before the boil point I skimmed off any foam rising to the top and then just let everything simmer together so the flavors could get acquainted with each other.  The beauty of having great stock on hand is that you are never more than a half an hour from fabulous soup.
    After the simmering and adding of seasonings (salt and pepper), I was able to blend everything together before adding a dollop of creme fraiche, some parsley and the sauerkraut to make a pretty close approximation to Borscht.  Now instead of looking at a medley of veggies in my crisper, I’ve got a half gallon and then some of fabulous soup just ready to go as the family curls up with blankets and waits for winter to bring its best.

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