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Vegetarian Borscht

tomgrrrl Aug 8, 2007 03:06 AM

I have tried to make this soup a few times, and the aroma is amazing but lacks in overall flavour. What am I doing wrong? I use bay leaf, chopped fresh dill, onion, garlic, veggie stock, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and of course beets. I usually chop the veggies fairly small and grate the beets. Should I cut the veggies bigger? Please help!

  1. m
    Missyme Aug 8, 2007 08:52 AM

    Try making it sweet and sour, using wine vinegar and sugar to taste. I make mine with just beets, water, salt, pepper, and the afore-mentioned vinegar and sugar. Nothing like it on a hot summer's day!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Missyme
      chanterelle Aug 8, 2007 08:54 AM

      That was my first thought - "Where's the vinegar?"

      1. re: Missyme
        tomgrrrl Aug 8, 2007 12:23 PM

        I did actually add white vinegar....I'll try adding more next time and some sugar. Thanks for the suggestion!

        1. re: tomgrrrl
          chanterelle Aug 8, 2007 09:43 PM

          Try using a good red wine vinegar instead. Maybe adding a little splash of balsamic. White vinegar seems a little too astringent and one note for me.

      2. a
        another_adam Aug 9, 2007 08:17 PM

        Although you didn't say what proportions you used, I tend to use more beets than all other things combined (which for me is usually just one potato, cut in largish chunks, and a little cabbage or french cut green beans). When the veggies are done cooking, I add a healthy dose of pickle juice and salt and pepper (it takes more than you might think)-- taste and keep adding. The borsch also definitely needs to sit, preferably overnight, for the flavors to develop; you can add more pickle juice, vinegar, or lemon juice to adjust the next day. I think in our family it was never a super-strong flavor anyway. (The summertime borsch made just of the greens, on the other hand, was quite sour from lemon or vinegar or sorrel)

        1. lollya Aug 10, 2007 08:21 AM

          hey grrrrrl,
          try my recipe! i was once involved with a ukrainian, but am a veg, so i couldn't eat meat, came up with something to make the veg option taste similar and flavorful.


          1. h
            hungry_pangolin Aug 11, 2007 05:42 AM

            You don't say whether you're just dumping everything in the pot, or whether you're sauteing some of the stuff first, and that does make a difference. Might I suggest roasting the beets first? I find that that intensifies the sweetness and earthiness of the flavour. Depending on the size of the beets, roast for about 40 minutes at 325F. Let them cool, peel them, and then grate or chop the beets, depending on the consistancy you want.

            In addition to your ingredients, I also use parsley root, celery root, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sometimes mushrooms. If it's a traditional country-style (as opposed to a more refined version), your babushka will tell you that the soup should be dense enough to supoort a wooden spoon upright.

            1. t
              tomgrrrl Oct 16, 2007 04:52 AM

              Thanks everyone!! I am looking forward to trying your suggestions :)

              1. atheorist Oct 16, 2007 07:51 PM

                Fine ideas here. Especially the saute or roasting. The borscht comes out different every time I make it. It is very forgiving and fun. I must try roasting.
                Other seasonings to experiment sparingly with- Ginger, cayenne or a hot pepper that you can fish out, thyme.

                1. q
                  quelle4 Oct 16, 2007 10:47 PM

                  I find it difficult to make a nice borscht. Somehow the beets are a little overpowering for my taste. Instead I like to make this really nice beet and vegetable soup: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview... that is extremely tasty with an hint of orange.

                  I know it's not a traditional borscht, but it's one of my favorite soups and my preferred way of using beets.

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