Beet and Red Cabbage Borscht
This is a food that came out of a jar, courtesy of Manischewitz, and onto the Kassoff family table. Todd’s version is pure heaven.
- 5 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 cups peeled, diced beets (about 2 pounds)
- 1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ tablespoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- 1 large carrot, cut into ½-inch dice (1 cup)
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup sour cream (optional)
- 1½ tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise, including part of the green
- To make the soup base, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 3 cups of the beets, the potatoes, shallots, garlic and caraway seeds. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Stir in the stock, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender–about 30 to 40 minutes. Strain the soup base through a mesh strainer into a clean saucepan, pushing the solids with the back of a ladle or spoon; discard solids and keep the liquid warm.
- To complete the borscht, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the saucepan used to cook the base; heat over medium-low heat. Add the cabbage, the remaining 1 cup of beets and carrots and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the honey and vinegar and cook 3 minutes more to reduce the acidity of the vinegar. Pour the warm soup base into the pan; simmer until the vegetables are tender–about 20 minutes. Chill for two hours.
- To serve, put the sour cream, capers and scallions each into a small bowl or cup. Serve the borscht at the table, topping each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of capers and scallions. The sour cream can be omitted and vegetable stock used to make it pareve, no sour cream and chicken stock to make it meat or with sour cream and vegetable stock for dairy. When it’s not Passover, add toast or pumpernickel croutons if you wish.