Friday, December 7, 2012

Zesty Borscht with Sour Cream and Veggie "Bacon"

Looking back at my last post - this one is right on time. :)

This is a recipe I used to make about twice a month. For some reason, it fell out of rotation - time to make amends!

This traditionally Russian red beet soup is made for this very season. Not so much the holiday season, more like the season where long lasting root vegetables abound. The selleriac, carrots, and beets all lend such a welcome sweet flavour that's balanced out by the tartness of the vinegar and the subtle smokiness of the veggie "bacon" - that is, dehydrated kale with a sprinkling of salt and smoked paprika (or chipotle powder, whatevs). I made it a day ahead for some strange reason (I'm usually never that prepared), and the flavors were even better for it. We had an unexpected dinner guest yesterday, who love-love-loved this soup, so you don't just have my word for it.

Borscht with Sour Cream and Veggie "Bacon"

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 selleriac, peeled and grated
5 medium-large carrots, grated
1 lb. beets, peeled and grated
3 bay leaves
1 tsp whole caraway ground
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
pinch cayenne
2 tbsp veggie boullion powder
1+ liter water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp wine vinegar
salt, pepper to taste

Sauter the onion and garlic until soft, add the grated veggies until they start to go soft. Add your spices, boullion, water, and sugar. Let bubble gently on the stove for about 45 minutes. Add the vinegar, and season more to taste (this is the part where I admit that it was a bit on the bland side, so I added a bit of say sauce, worcestershire sauce, miso, and a darker, thicker balsamico before I was ready to serve this puppy).

Veggie "Bacon"  

Wash and thoroughly dry a bunch of kale. Separate the thick stalks from the leaves and discard. Roughly chop the leaves, and massage them with a few tbsp of olive oil. Spread out on a baking tray, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika (or chipotle powder), and salt. Dry/bake anywhere from 15-30 minutes in a low-medium heat oven. The higher the temp, the more vigilant you must be. The kale is done when it's bright green, crisp, and crunchy. The sooner it's eaten the better, it gets a little tough after  a while.

Serve your delicious beet soup piping hot with a dollop of sour cream (to make this vegan, use a dollop of soy yogurt instead) and a liberal sprinkling of you smoky veggie bacon.

* This version of red beet soup is inspired by the Borsjtj in Geniale Gryderetter, with a few amends, not in the least my veggie "bacon".

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