When I have borscht again for lunch in another few hours? THEN you can judge me.
What can I say? I really like beets. And cabbage. But, especially beets. Borscht is one of the few times in my life where I look at a stew and think: "Are potatoes REALY necessary???" (If you knew the depths of my love of potatoes, you'd be pretty shocked right now.) I've also accidentally made this particular borscht recipe without cabbage and I still loved it. I don't even put beef in my recipe, so it's just kind of a giant mess of beets and spices.
Okay, I'm judging myself: pathetic beet lover.
If you're curious, I got this recipe from the St. Paul Farmer's Market Produce Cookbook, 2005 edition. It's from Evelyn Kaiser, and it goes like this:
5 cups of water
1 1/2 cups beets, peeled and diced
1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup carrots, peel and diced
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp utter
1 onion, chopped
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of green cabbage, shredded
1/2 put of tomato, chopped (or one can of diced tomatoes -or- one can of tomato sauce. Not being a huge tomato fan, I use either of these.)
1/2 cup beet, peeled and grated
1 tsp. dried dill (and a sprinkling of fresh, if available.)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
salt and pepper (I add a beef bullion or two instead of the salt, because I like the meaty undertone that gives. Plus any bullion is super salty so I can skip any of the added salt.)
The rest reads:
Bring 5 cups of water to boil ad add diced beets, potato, carrots and salt (or bullion, in my case). Reduce heat an cook covered over medium heat for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.*
In saucepan, heat butter and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add the cabbage and sauté for 3 minutes. Sir in tomatoes, grated beets, and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Add sauté mixture to boiled vegetable. Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
*adding the potatoes at the same time as beets often ends with completely mushed potatoes. I would recommend dropping them in 10 minutes later or so, IF you want firm and not completely pulverized potatoes. I suspect this is why the recipe suggests peeling them. I'm usually throwing things into the pot that I've gotten from the farmers' market THAT DAY, so it seems silly to peel the potatoes.... until I forget i should have waited and end up with mush attached to skin. The other option is to skip them entirely, of course, though, despite all this, I rarely do that. Probably because I feel guilty admitting that what I really want is a giant bowl of boiled beets and the potatoes makes me feel like I'm making a stew.
I have served this to others and have been met with mixed results. Beets and cabbage are definitely an acquired taste. It's hard for me to tell if this recipe is as good as It think it is, since literally it could read: peel and dice beets, boil until tender, add salt, and I'd be like WHAT IS THIS WONDEROUS CONCOCTION??
Milage may vary.