By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
Back to the potential power of beets again today, starting with this recipe and letter from Marysville cook Maalka Mednikoff, who refers to the soup mentioned in earlier Forum columns.
“In Poland,” she says, “it’s called barszcz and in Russia it’s called borscht. The recipes are the same.
“I’m Russian, 70 years old, and have been making beet borscht since I was a little girl — and, yes, I, too, have found borscht or barszcz to ease various ‘senior’ maladies.
“In days of yore, I’d have to chop all the vegetables but not, in these modern times, as all the vegetables can be found already chopped in a vegetable aisle, and the beets come already julienned in a can.”
Maalka also says, “My borscht is so good that even for the two of us, I double the recipe, but the recipe below is not doubled.”
Next, we hear from longtime Forum recipe-sharer Chris Marl, of Everett, who writes, “I haven’t been in touch for quite some time, but that doesn’t mean I am not a faithful reader and clipper-outer of the Forum. I saw the SOS from Valerie Grove for barsczc, plus other beet recipes.
“This one is from the Internet (about.com), and it looks good and easy. Certainly less work than Russian borscht!”
Maalka’s single-batch beet borscht
1 pound chopped hamburger
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 cup chopped onions
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 can julienned or shredded beets, undrained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
5 cups beef broth
2 cans shredded cabbage
2 cups cubed potatoes
Sour cream (optional)
Brown hamburger until cooked through. With slotted spoon, remove hamburger into medium-size bowl. Drain grease from frying pan. In same frying pan, add 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add onions and cook and stir until translucent. Add carrots and mix carrots and onions with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat and cover pan and cook until carrots are tender. When carrots are tender, remove the mix into the same bowl as the hamburger. In the same pan, add the other 2 teaspoons of oil. Add beets and beet liquid to frying pan and stir in tomato paste, heating until warm, then adding to same bowl as the meat, onions and carrots.
In a large pot, bring beef broth to boil; add cabbage and potatoes, cooking until potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked through, and in the same large pot, add the cooked hamburger, onions, carrots, beets and beet liquid, and tomato paste mixture. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and, if desired, top with sour cream.
4 beets, washed
4 cups meat or vegetable stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the beet greens and set aside for other use. Rinse beets, wrap in aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and slice into strips or julienne. In a medium pot, bring stock to boil, add beets, garlic, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 10 minutes.
Serve hot with boiled potatoes and chopped dill for garnish, or cool quickly in an ice-water bath and refrigerate to serve cold, garnished with dill and sour cream.
The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.