Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baltic Red Beet Soup

I have always very strongly disliked (not to say hated) red beets. I have very strong and repelling memories of the cooking odors of red beets. The strong earthiness of the smell made me feel constricted, almost unable to breathe - and after preparing this dish and being exposed to the smell for the first time in about 20 years, I must say: nothing has changed. The second I opened the can of red beets, I regretted having chosen this dish. So why did I do it in the first place? Well, this month of Cook Around the Globe is dedicated to some Eastern European countries and HubbyGrouch for some reason likes red beets and had been asking about borshch for some time. I finally gave in when I found this recipe that had red beets in a smaller amount than what I had seen before, and it also called for canned, rather than fresh beets. After enduring the awful smell emanating from the can and then from the pot, the soup was finally ready. Turned up, I actually liked it and there was just the slightest hint of beet flavor! I probably used less beets
than the recipe had called for. Next time, I should increase the amount of beets to 1 1/2 or 2 cans. I hope the I would still like the soup then. HubbyGrouch complained a little that the soup didn't have the beet-taste. Well, it was a compromise, wasn't it?

Six months ago: Herring in Yogurt Sauce


350 g smoked ham (2 thick slices), diced
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium pickled beets (or 1 - 2  15-oz cans, drained), grated
1 medium onion, chopped
100 g (light) sour cream

Place ham cubes and 1 l water in a pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 hour until meat is soft. Add potatoes, beets, onion, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes and onion are soft. Remove bay leaves and peppercorns. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, and adjust seasoning. Serve and enjoy.

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