Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Russian nettle borscht (beetroot soup)

Polish: barszcz
Lithuanian: barščiai
Finnish: borssi
Russian: борщ
Greek: Μπορς
Persian: سوپ برش
Korean: 보르시
Japanese: ボルシチ
Hebrew: חמיצה
Swedish: borsjtj

Borscht is a soup. Warm or cold, with a variety of ingredients, but with one must: beetroots. With or without sour cream, with potatoes or huge white beans, with boiled egg, little stuffed dumplings or fried savoury pancake roll - so many possibilities, depending on the region, season and occasssion. Polish Christmas borscht, for instance, is nothing else but a beetroot broth served in a cup, which you can just drink. Of course, there are exceptions from each rule, so there are some borscht with no beet: in Russia you can find green borscht made with sorrel, and in Poland during the Eastertime people eat white borscht, made from fermented rye flour, bacon and sausage. As you already know or guess, the homeland of borscht is Eastern Europe. During the surpingtime it is worth to try Russian nettle borscht, борщ с крапивой.

see also: Polish spring nettle soup

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup beetroot, cooked and diced*
1 cup nettle leaves
2 tomatoes
garlic (1-2 cloves)
sugar, salt, pepper
optionally: sour cream

1. Prepare beetroots: cook them on your own or use pre-cooked or even canned beets (I know, it is not easy to find fresh beets in each country) and dice or cut julienne (into long thin "matches"

2. After dividing nettle leaves from the stalks, pour some boiling water over the leaves, so that your nettle is not excessively scorching :) This step is very important! After pouring boiling water, nettle will not burn your fingers anymore and you can now chop it

3. Dice tomatoes and mince garlic with a bit of salt

4. Heat the broth. When boiling, add beets, nettle, tomatoes and garlic. Add a bit of sugar and pepper and optionally more salt to taste. Cook 5-10 minutes (vegetables are already pre-cooked and tomatoes don't need much time)

5. You can eat the borscht as it is now, or serve with a tablespoon of sour cream on eah plate.

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