Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Butter Borshch

Butter Borshch

My show closed on Saturday night and, after 3 weeks of wearing a corset, coming home late and barely cooking, I was really looking to make something restorative and nutritious for dinner last night. That always makes me think of soup. But so soon after Passover, the last thing I wanted was matzoh ball soup. I also knew I needed this soup to be chock full of vegetables, to make up for all the fried bar food I'd been eating late nights after performances. And I have a little jar of fresh bay leaves -- a gift from a cast member that I was eager to sample. Since spring produce isn't quite here yet, I started thinking about root vegetables. But I wanted a green as well. So I asked myself: what root vegetables have delicious edible greens? Beets, of course! Borshch it was, then.

But the vegetarian isn't such a fan of beets, so I wanted there to be enough other flavors in the borshch that it wouldn't taste overwhelmingly of beets (just clean and earthy). So we added in onions and carrots and sauteed all the earth vegetables in butterInstead of cabbage, I used the beet greens and even half a package of diced tomatoes from Winter Sun Farms.

So did it work? Did the vegetarian learn to like beets? Yes and no. He loved the flavorful broth we created (and wasn't even turned off by the reddish color!) but found the texture of the beets off-putting. But that's fine; I had made enough side dishes for him to be satisfied with the broth stirred in and I was able to have extra soup for lunch today. Enjoy!

Butter Borshch
inspired by Cooking with PETA and Russian Cookbook

Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, beets and carrots and saute until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Pour in broth, tomatoes and bay leaf and simmer 5 minutes. Add beet greens stems and simer another 5 minutes. Add beet green leaves, lemon juice, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring well, 5 minutes, until greens are tender and flavors are melded nicely. Remove bay leaf and serve. Makes 4 1/2 cups.

Make it a meal: If, like me, you're cooking for someone who may not be crazy about borshch, make side 
Make it a Meal
dishes that could qualify as a meal in themselves. Staying in Eastern Europe, buckwheat is great either on the side or stirred into the borshch. For some extra protein, how about some nutty black-eyed peas? And traveling back around the world, some sauteed bok choy brings in an extra dose of greens. A bottle of red wine to drink and for dessert, fresh blueberries. Bon appetit!

Links to other borshch noshes and thoughts:

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