Watching the games in Sochi? Feel like you're right there with the athletes when you make this delicious borscht.
As fearless athletes from around the world gather in Russia to streak down mountains at deadly speeds, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow. That looks utterly insane.”
Well, you're right. You might also be thinking, “Wow. That looks cold and I’m hungry!”
Good news: This spicy borscht soup will not only warm your soul, but if you go full force with the spices, you’ll be running at deadly speeds for your closest glass of milk.
This soup, at its base, is peasant food. It costs almost nothing to make and will feed a crowd. AND it’s fairly simple to make after some serious chopping.
It can include proteins like beef, but I like to keep it veggie-packed.
This is, no joke, the hardest part of this recipe. Spend some time peeling the veggies and dicing them into roughly the same size. It’ll pay off in the end to have an even-textured soup.
This will probably take around 20 minutes if you are a slow chopper, but after this the soup cooks itself!
In a large sturdy pot over medium heat, add olive oil and then all those diced veggies. Let these cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until the veggies start to soften. It wouldn’t hurt to hit them with a pinch of salt as they cook.
Now let’s talk spices. Since this is a spicy soup, I went big on the spices. I used dried arbol chiles but those might be kind of hard to find, so I wrote red pepper flakes into the recipe – which will add some nice base heat.
Now, if you want to get a little crazy, find yourself a dried habanero pepper and toss that into the mix. Totally optional, but it’ll elevate the spicy levels substantially.
When you’re ready to add these, make a little well in the middle of your pot and pour in the spices. If your pan is really dry, add a drizzle of oil. Let these fry gently for just 30 seconds until they are fragrant.
Then pour in about six cups of water. The water should cover the soup. Cover it slightly and bring the soup to a simmer. Let it simmer for another 8-10 minutes until veggies are tender.
The only ingredients left are some seasonings and a little cabbage. This is just a classic Russian ingredient and I couldn’t leave it out.
Slice about a half head of green cabbage into thin strips and toss that into the pot.
Let it continue to cook until the cabbage is tender, another 4-5 minutes or so. Then season it with salt and pepper and pull out that super-spicy pepper if you used it.
Serve the soup with some thick Yoplait Greek yogurt and top it with a few sprigs of fresh dill.
This will keep you warm while you shout “Go USA!”
Nick thinks that this shouldn’t be a soup just for Eastern Europe! Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.