Stalks of celery? Potatoes? Pickled beets?! Nyet
This is борщ (barshch
the way Comrade Ulyanov
meant it to be.
(Although this is admittedly a bit more elaborate than everyday
Russian fare, so no worries if you don't have all listed veggies
or spices on hand.)
Fenno-Russian Barshch (Borssikeitto)
Optional extra for meat eaters: around 50g of bacon
(Finns actually like to add in chopped wiener
s to appease the kids,
but I've always felt this to be a sacrilege
of the worst sort.)
- Dice the onion finely.
- With the help of a food processor if at all possible (otherwise
this will take you all day), peel and grate all the veggies.
Warning: Peeling beetroot is seriously messy and grated beetroot
stains everything it touches. Cloth yourself appropriately,
coat work surfaces, prepare everything else first, and once finished
wash any wood/plastic objects before they permanently turn purple.
(sneff even recommends wearing gloves, but the stains on
your hands will usually rub off in a day...)
- In a big soup pot, fry the onion in oil until it wilts. Add bacon/ham
if you wish.
- Add in all the grated veggies and cook, stirring gently,
until the beetroot starts to "bleed" juice to the bottom of the pot.
- Add stock, finely chopped garlic and thyme. Bring to a boil.
- Cook on low heat until done, at least half an hour and more
won't hurt. You'll know it's close to finished when the celery root
turns from white to purple.
- Titrate in the vinegar until it tastes Good(TM). Adjust with salt and pepper.
The above serves 4 people as a full meal and even more as an appetizer.
The obligatory accompaniments are sour cream (smetana) in a
separate dish and Russian black bread. If served as an appetizer,
you may wish to put it through a blender to make it into a pretty
Side Effect Warning
Consumption of larger quantities of beetroot tends
to result in certain chromatic aberrations
in your digestive byproducts. Rest assured,
this is only a sign of
gentle high-fiber colon cleansing, not impending
death from anal hemorrhage.