Borscht is a kind of Russian dish, and in honor my recently acquiring a set of Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards, I decided to revisit my own interest in Russian culture and cuisine; mostly, my interest has been passing, but there are neat aspects to Russia including their language and the worship of the Russian Orthodox Church.
We had a Russian exchange student named Darya my freshman year of high school. She was extremely intelligent and informed our History teacher of many interesting tidbits to Russian culture, as she had lived through the fall of the Soviet Union and in the post-Soviet Russian climate. Naturally, she comes to mind whenever I begin talking about Russia.
In addition, Irina Tweedie, the author of Daughter of Fire and Sufi teacher of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, was also Russian; her last name comes from the fact she had married an Englishman, and after his death, she traveled to India, studied Sufism under Bhai Sahib, and then brought the Sufi teachings back with her to England, where Llewellyn met her, and eventually, Llewellyn brought the teachings to the Golden Sufi Center in California.
Also, I studied Russian language for a while after taking an interesting Russian pop music, but then, I’ve been a fan of music from other countries for a while. I can understand some Russian and can read the Russian alphabet.
Anyway, to the point: I’ve never really had Russian food before, nor was I completely familiar with what exactly Russians eat. I knew of Borscht, which is kind of a beet stew of sorts, and so I decided to find a recipe and make some.
The adventure with Borscht has been an interesting one. I made an enormous pot, and, well…the Borscht turned out extremely sour tasting. Not a ruined sour, mind you, but I mean I used pickled beets, so naturally there’s a lot of vinegar in it. Plus I added some extra vinegar after it tasted way too much like turnips.
Then I added pierogies. Yes, I went there. Instead of cutting up a potato, I added a box of pierogies, which was actually a better idea and gave the soup a new kind of depth. Then I tried some more yesterday after the soup’s flavors had married, and…
Solution? Yes, please.
I added a packet of shrimp-flavoring from ramen. And do you know what? That solved half the problem for me.
By solved half the problem for me, I mean that traditionally, Borscht includes beef. Lots of beef. Like you have to boil a roast or something before you even start cooking with the vegetables. My guess is this evens out the sour-taste of the vinegar. In a way, this meant that my flavoring wasn’t up to par because of the lack of meat, so the shrimp packet gave it the savoriness and thicker flavor for which I was looking. Go me!
The pierogies really did make the soup SO much better. The potatoes and dumplings just add something to it, and when they mingle with the rest of the flavors, man…it’s an explosion of taste in your mouth!
Beaux’s Adventure Borscht:
- 2 cans of pickled beets
- 2 cans of carrots
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups of cabbage, chopped thinly
- 3 Tablespoons of dill weed
- 1 box of pierogies
- 4 cubes of beef stock OR vegetable stock
- 2 or 3 packs of Shrimp Ramen flavoring (optional)
- Sour cream (optional, as I didn’t have this)
- SPT (Salt and Pepper to Taste)
Get your cook on:
Boil the stock and flavoring.
Add onions, carrots, and beets.
Simmer for about half an hour.
Add the cabbage, dill weed, and pierogies.
Cook for about 15 minutes.
Serve with sour cream on top and SPT
Now, hopefully, no angry Russians will come along declaring how horrible of a person I am for ruining their masterful, traditional recipes, but please, give me a break: I was working with what I had, which is obviously not much.
With the recipe, the flavors really changed when I added the cabbage. The entire recipe is rather healthy, if you think about it, as its mostly a kind of vegetable stew.
You can also go the extra mile and add beef, but you’re going to be looking at the whole process taking about an hour longer.
For what wait you? Is good day for to make Borscht!