Where Have All the Beetroot Gone?
Updated: May 25
Borscht is a dish that features several times in The Girl from the Hermitage and is one of my favourite Russian recipes. I regularly make borscht and never tire of the taste. In fact, in the very early days of lockdown when I was riddled with anxiety and fuzzy-headed from sleepless nights, I made borscht. I found comfort in the slicing and chopping and appreciated a distraction from 2020.
Over the past week, I struggled to find beetroot. But then a neighbour offered on our street’s WhatsApp group to add items to her Ocado delivery. I asked her to get some beetroot and it arrived as ordered. Hurrah! The soup could be made. All of these strange lockdown grocery challenges remind me a bit of my time in Russia in the late Nineties. Products were sometimes unpredictable, you didn’t always know when or where you would find an item. One of the first things I learnt when I moved to Moscow-if you come across something you want to buy, get it. Don’t wait.
Borscht has hundreds of variations and you can find many different recipes online. Today I used a recipe on Epicurious. I didn’t have carrots or parsnips so I substituted potato and leek. And I didn’t have red wine vinegar so I used sherry vinegar instead. You can use whatever veg you have, that is the beauty of borscht. I also used homemade chicken stock which is always better than cubes or store-bought. Borscht is best served with soured cream and fresh dill. (My poor dill plants really need recovery time now!) This batch turned out great and has been enjoyed by the whole family, except my son isn’t keen on any type of soup.
I have a few beetroot leftover so I am going to make another of my Russian favourites, Beet and Walnut Salad.