I live in Northern Manitoba and today was a rainy day….which means a perfect time to be productive inside! As my lovely sister Tabitha was on a canoe trip down in Kenora Ontario where she lives (little jealous), I was cleaning the house. Cleaning and making a giant pot of borscht that is!
And cook I did. One of the things that I look forward to about fall is fresh garden veggies and herbs which means BORSCHT! I can’t think of any more comforting soup than this pink coloured goodness. We grew up with a Ukrainian grandmother and a Mennonite grandmother which means that our family gatherings were always filled with typical Eastern European foods. The way my Omi makes borscht is without beets – using cabbage. My preference is to fuse both styles of borscht and throw both cabbage AND beets into the mix! Win win!
Beets and cabbage are two fairly unappreciated vegetables. I love them because they are very nutritious, shelf stable, delicious and cheap!!! Cabbage is full of a beta-carotene, vitamin C, fibre and a certain type of anti-oxidants (sulphoraphane) which prevents cancer in the body. Anything with a deep purply colour is rocket fuel for your immune system – and beets certainly fit the bill! Anthrocyanin is the compound that gives it the intense colour and are linked a reduction in cancer and inflammation in the body.
Omi’s Borscht (With a twist)
1 Small head of cabbage, chopped
4 Large beets, peeled and diced
1 Large onion, diced
3 Large carrots, diced
3 Large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 750mL can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
Low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is best or if you don’t have use about 1/2 cup dry powder or to taste) *Use a gluten free one if needed
1/4 cup of white vinegar
5 Bay leaves
3 dried chili peppers or about a teaspoon of crushed chili peppers (tie in cheese cloth with string)
A big bunch of fresh dill or about 1/4 cup or more dried dill – you need lots
A few sprigs of parsley, chopped
~4 liters of water or enough to just cover vegetables
1. Add all ingredients into large stock pot and heat on high until boiling.
2. Simmer for 2 hours until all vegetables and tender and flavours have develop. Adjust spices to taste.
3. Remove chili peppers (trust me you do NOT want to bite into one of those)
4. Ladle into bowl and add a dollop of light sour cream, swirl in.
Delicious as a meal on it’s own with a slice of toast.
The soup will last for a few days in your fridge or it can be canned in mason jars for later. Freezing it is also an option but I find it changes the texture of the vegetables a little. Either or.