Soup’s On! – my first attempt at Borscht

I really made a mess of my kitchen this morning….let’s just say 1 broken crockpot….beet juice splashing….yep..I should really clean up.

First be warned…although my photos are really not that spectactular to begin with..my husband has my camera today…so no pictures – sorry folks!

School starts Monday here (Hooray!).  My boys are at the point where I believe they are starting to get on eachothers nerves, and so lately I have felt like a referee..let’s just say I will be happy for them to be back to routine again.  I also start a new career this fall – this will be interesting, since I have not worked for about 6 years outside of the home.  I am very excited! 

I have decided to spend the weekend preparing for next weeks busy schedule…and have been on a quest to fill my freezer full of goodies, so when busy hits – we are prepared.  Last night I made 4 loaves of bannana bread (for the lunchboxes) – and cooked up a huge ham (sandwhich meat).  Today I was left with the big ham bone and decided to make some ham soup for the boys.  Once I started with my yummy ham soup I started to think about borscht..yes I know – really Jaime stick to one soup.  Anyway what got me thinking about Borscht was my husband always raving about his mother’s Borscht.  I know many borscht recipes are vegetarian but she always made hers with the ham bone….hmmm I was already using the ham bone – but come to think of it – I had 2 large beets from the farmers market in the fridge, carrots from the farmers market and a half a head of red cabbage in the fridge…and loads of dill growing in my garden – well guess what – I decided to make borscht too. 

So this is not really an exact recipe (but I would expect as most soup recipes are) it can be very forgiving.  This was my very first time making borscht…and I kinda improvised after viewing a few recipes online.  It turned out really yummy.

Ingredients

 – 2-3 beets (I used two large) peeled (use a veggie peeler) and diced
 – 3 small-med potatoes, peeled and diced
 – 1-2 carrots (I used more because they were small from the garden) – roughly a cup diced
 – 1 cup diced celery
 – 3 cups red cabbage sliced thinly
 – 1 onion, diced
 – 2 cups diced tomatoes
 – 1/3 cup of butter
 – 6 cups water or half stock half water (I used half stock half water – I would use veggie stock but used chicken because thats all I had)
 – 1 clove garlic minced
 – fresh dill to taste
 – a little ground mustard seed and fennel seed (using a mortar and pestle)
 – splash of red wine vinegar or lemon juice to taste
 – a dab of honey (about a tbsp) or to taste
 – salt and pepper
 – 1/4 cup half and half cream

*Note I think that a nice addition would be caraway seeds (ground) but I didn’t have any – next time

Put your beets, celery, carrots, potatoes and stock/water and 1 1/2 cups of your tomatoes in a large soup pot and bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for a bit until beets and potatoes are cooked through.

In the meantime, melt some butter in a large skillet…add in your onion and cook for a while until nicely softened, add in garlic and then add in half your cabbage and about 1/2 cup of your tomatoes simmer for about 15 minutes – season with salt and pepper as you go.  Add this to your soup pot and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.  Season with ground spices to taste (only about a tsp I used of the fennel, mustard seed mixture), honey, salt and pepper, vinegar or lemon juice and add in fresh dill, salt and pepper to taste. 

At this point I removed about half of the soup to a seperate container and using an immersion blender blended the other half until smooth and then added back in the other half (this made it still a little chunky but smooth too – nice consistency for me).  At the end stir in about 1/4 cup or so of cream (half and half is what I used)

To serve garnish with a dollop of sour cream and dill fronds…or even just on its own is good too.

Now – I had better clean up this mess!!  Happy eats!

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