Monday, September 22, 2008

Stilton Borscht

Similar to my experience with coq au vin, making borscht was a matter of knowing what could be done with two large, excessively fresh and earthy beets. Plus both results are purple. But that's just a cool coincidence.

Though there are probably thousands of recipes for this traditional Eastern European dish, I adapted mine from one of my soup & stews cookbooks. Here then is my version of borscht. Note that most of the ingredients were just things I threw in because I had them on hand. Sort of like cleaning out the fridge sort of thing. This recipe is definitely not set in stone. Whatever tickles your own fancy.

Stilton Borscht

1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove
2 medium to large beets, peeled and chopped small (about 2 cups)
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup or so of chopped daikon radish (I just had some of this on hand)
500ml box of organic vegetable stock (the stuff I buy is very rich...almost a soup in itself)
1 medium onion, peeled and left whole
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. sweet paprika
spicy chili flakes or powder of choice to taste
1 tbsp. tomato paste or 1 small can of tomato sauce
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
3/4 bottle of amber to dark beer (I used a Scotch beer)
a little less than 1/4 cup's worth of stilton or other blue cheese (goat's cheese would also be lovely and obviously milder)
generous handful of asian greens (I substituted these for cabbage...they look like lettuce but apparently they are related to cabbage)
salt and pepper

sour cream, for serving

1. In a medium pot, cook onions in hot oil till they start to brown. Add all other vegetables and sweat covered, stirring occasionally till vegetables are softened.
2. Add all other ingredients and cook till flavours have developed and all vegetables are soft.
3. Puree the soup with a hand blender (or you can do it the hard way with a regular blender).
4. Adjust seasoning and serve with a very generous dollop of cold sour cream.

This soup can be eaten hot or cold and as with any soup or stew, it only get's better with time. You can even freeze or can this stuff. Plus it looks really cool. I'm sure kid's would have a blast with this...especially seeing as the very healthy veggies are disguised as a Barney coloured puree.

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