Every Wednesday Angel Valley Farms sells organically grown produce in north Austin. I don’t make it out the mini market every week, but I happened to be on the way back from a morning appointment when I realized it was Wednesday. Almost 10am. The farmers open at 10 sharp and if there’s something special, like golden beets, you have to get there early if you have any hopes in snagging the prize veg of the day. With three yellow bunches left, I grabbed one. Before I could decide if I needed more for this recipe I was conjuring, a short thin woman appeared behind me “…You know I think I take both of these…” My mouth was open to speak but nothing could come fast enough. At least I had one bunch. I also took a bunch of carrots which looked juicy and tender, most importantly, fresh!
The latecomers will have to make do with purple beets.
I peeled these little blondies after a short trip in boiling water. My first borscht was starting out lovely. I wasn’t even worried about my lack of fresh dill, even though most recipes I’ve seen call for it or pickles. No dill? There’s a patch for that: chives.
Here is what you will need for my twist on borscht:
- 1 bunch (4 – 6) yellow beets
- 1 large carrot
- 2 – 3 medium parsnip
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 large yellow onion (or half a small one)
- juice from half a lemon
- 1 tsp sugar (optional and to taste)
- salt to taste
- sour cream (garnish)
- chives, chopped (garnish)
Boil a small amount of water for the beets. Cut the stems 1/4 inch from the top of the bulb and trim the root end. Boil for a couple of minutes to soften the rough outer skin. Discard the water and set the beets aside to cool enough to handle. Bring the stock and water up to a simmer the empty pot.
Peel the beets, carrot, and parsnip. Dice. Dice the onion. Add everything to the simmering liquid and cook until tender.
Strain the vegetables and reserve the broth. Put the cooked vegetables in a blender or food processor. Pureé. Add broth as needed to end up with a silky smooth soup. Adjust for salt (and sugar) and blend again.
Pour the soup back in the pot over low heat for a few minutes as you stir in the fresh lemon juice.
To serve, ladle into four bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chives.