Monday, September 26, 2011
Borscht, with an Italian Twist.
We are approaching the season when our vegetables are dug out of the ground and not picked off a bush or a vine. So what to do with one fennel bulb, a Spanish onion, a yellow onion, and three medium beets?
Make soup. I invented this recipe this afternoon, and the results were sublime- a marriage, if you will, between Russia and Italy. It tastes like a cream soup, but there is no cream, sour or sweet. It uses just 1/3 of a stick of butter. The rest is merely chicken broth,herbs, sauteed onions, and roasted fennel and beets pureed in my food processor.
Here is what you need:
1 large yellow onion
1 large Spanish red onion.
3 medium beets, peeled and diced.
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into chunks.
24 oz chicken stock or broth.
A pinch or two of Italian seasoning.
1 1/2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar.
Sea salt or kosher salt to taste.
1/3 stick of butter.
Dice your onions and saute them in a large skillet in 3 tbs of olive oil and the melted butter. Add the vinegar and cook on medium until the onions are soft and sweet. Be sure to sprinkle them with sea salt to taste. Put the diced beets in a bowl and toss them with some more olive oil and a little sea salt. Then put them in a foil lined baking dish, and wrap them into a packet. The foil will keep them moist. Roast them for 45 minutes to an hour, at 350 degrees, then set them aside. As you are roasting the beets, roast the fennel, tossed with oil and salt and a pinch or two of Italian seasoning. (Wrap the fennel in a foil packet as well) It should be done in 30 minutes.
Puree the beets, the onions, and the fennel in a food processor or a blender. Add salt if needed. Then put the puree in a saucepan with 23 oz of chicken broth and re-heat. Adjust seasoning, if needed.
Traditional borscht has sour cream added. But I think this soup is creamy enough as it is. It would go well with crusty bread and cheese.