Sunday, November 3, 2013

Great Grandmas Borscht (beet soup)

Great Grandmas Borscht (beet and tomato soup)

When I bring up the topic of beets to most people I almost immediately see a weird unpleasant look on their faces, and they are reminded of the pickled beets sitting at the salad bar no one eats.

Beets, by there very nature, are sweet, creamy and rich, and I've never quite understood the pickled beet, I mean I get it from an evolutionary standpoint because of the health benefits of fermentation and picking, but a sweeter application of the beet will almost always yield more pleased eaters than not.

I was raised eating this creamy warm soup since infancy, it has always been a Christmas Eve tradition at my Polish/Russian great grandmothers house, along with scratch made bagels, periogi, a homemade liquor from clove and honey and lots of shrimp. We would pack 40 people into her small wash park home, with the table extending the length of her house, and sing Christmas carols before opening presents. Santa Claus was even known to make a special appearance from time to time. These memories are so special to me that I will cherish and try to hold onto to their detail for as long as possible.

Anyways, back to the soup, it is simple and perfect for fall and winter, especially if you've harvested your own beets, which I have done in previous years. 

The soup is usually served with a mushroom filled tortellini (there is an actual Russian pasta name for this little guy but I don't know it, we usually buy fresh mushroom tortellini or make our own from scratch) for some reason they were referred to as "pig ears" while growing up, probably some attempt to freak us children out, but nevertheless soups with stuffed pastas are always amazing, but not always necessary, so for the sake of health I usually only eat the pasta variety at Christmas Eve.

The soup freezes really well and can be enjoyed any time of the year, some people will eat beet soup cold and some people will top the soup with sour cream, whatever variation you prefer, do it! Beets are just too delicious and too healthy not to include in your menu!


5 cans julienne beets
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (your favorite variety or homemade, I look for an organic gluten free variety)
2 cans tomato soup
2 can v8 juice
Pickle juice to taste (several tablespoons to add tang)

This is a one pot soup, bring all ingredients to a boil and when it is smooth, add in your pickle juice, to taste, it should have a slight tang, and then it is ready to enjoy.

If adding pasta add 15 minutes before serving so they stay whole.

I added 2 poached eggs into my soup for dinner and it was amazingly creamy and delish! 

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