Borscht with Eggplant

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Borscht with Eggplant a la Verrine.

Borscht - just this one word evokes pleasant and warm childhood memories. Every housewife in Eastern Europe and Russia knows how to make borscht (and trust me, it sounds much better and gentler in Russian) but the recipes differ from family to family and are often based on their traditions. There are so many wonderful variations of this healthy satisfying beet based soup; you can make it with beans, sauerkraut, mushrooms, even prunes with either beef or vegetable-based broths, I can keep on going, they’re almost endless.

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My version is sans meat and has sautéed diced eggplant which can also be served on a side as a garnishing option instead. Serve  borscht in individual glasses; it will result in a refined visually tantalizing presentation. Top each glass with a thin slice of black rye bread and a helping of good quality sour cream for guests who demand authenticity. Sprinkle with chopped chives, dill or parsley! As the slogan at the Sochi Olympics says- HOT. COOL. YOURS.

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Ingredients: low-sodium beef or vegetable broth, cabbage, beet, yellow onion, red bell pepper, carrot,Yukon gold potatoes, garlic cloves, eggplant, dill, Marinara sauce, red wine vinegar, cumin, coriander, oregano, red pepper flakes, olive oil, bay leave, sour cream, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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I cubed and slightly seared the eggplant for my interpretation of the red borscht.

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The classic version is a beef-based broth but feel free to substitute with vegetable broth instead.

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Look for a small light green colored cabbage with no visual signs of rotten or discoloration. You will only need half of it. Hold the half up and starting from the bottom and moving around it, shred the cabbage thinly with the knife.

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Finely dice one small yellow onion, set aside.

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Peel and grate small carrot, set aside.

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Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in non-stick pan; add onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until golden.

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Add grated carrot, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl.

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In the same pan, add grated beets and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often.

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Add bell pepper, marinara sauce and smashed garlic

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Season with salt, coriander, dried oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for about 20 minutes until beets are softened and sauce reduce by half.

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Yukon Gold potatoes work wonderfully in the borscht.  This variety withstands boiling heat and remains firm with sweet flavor to it. Dice the potatoes into small cubes.

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Meanwhile, bring beef broth (or vegetable broth) to a boil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add cabbage and potatoes; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes.

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Add sautéed beets and onion/carrot mixture to the pot, stir to combine. Let it boil for another minute or so.

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Turn off the heat, add vinegar and a bay leave.

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Sauté finely diced eggplant, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes.

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Add to it to the borscht or serve separately as a garnishing option.

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To serve, pour some of the vegetables on the bottom of each plate or individual glass verrine and skim off the broth on top.

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Finish with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with chopped chives and dill spring. Serve with black rye bread.

 

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Borscht with Eggplant

recipe details

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

For a 4 qt. pot

  • 10 cups low-sodium beef or vegetable broth
  • 8 oz. cabbage, very thinly shredded
  • 1 medium red beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 1½ Marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

 

Spices 

  • 1½ tablespoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bay leave
  • Sour cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

 

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in non-stick pan; add onion and sauté for 3 minutes until golden. Add grated carrot, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In the same pan, add grated beets and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add bell pepper, marinara sauce and smashed garlic. Season with salt, coriander, dried oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for about 20 minutes until beets are softened and sauce reduce by half.
  3. Meanwhile, bring beef broth to a boil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add cabbage and potatoes; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. Add sautéed beets and onion/carrot mixture to the pot, stir to combine, let it boil for another minute or so. Turn off the heat, add vinegar and a bay leave.
  5. Sauté finely diced eggplant, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes. Add to it to the borscht or serve separately as a garnishing option.
  6. To serve, pour some of the vegetables on the bottom of each plate or glass verrine and skim off the broth on top.  Finish with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with chopped chives and dill spring. Serve with black rye bread. 

Kitchen tip: it is important to not overcook the cabbage and potatoes; they should be cooked but still have a slight crunch to the bite. Even when the heat is off, the vegetables will continue cooking in the pot.

 

share your thoughts

4 thoughts on “Borscht with Eggplant”

  1. Svitlana…I think Borscht is my favorite soup of all..I can never say “NO” to it…especially if there is sour cream!!! I didn’t know that you can add an eggplant…Do you think it tastes better on a second or even third day…after you cooked it? I really think so…!!

    1. I absolutely agree, it is also my childhood favorite, Say No to The Borscht!:))) I always had it with black rye bread bushed with freshly cut garlic, DELICIOUS! Did you try it this way? I made a fresh batch for our Sochi Winter Olympics Party but you are right it gets only better on the third or even fourth day and boy, it can last!!!! Eggplant in it is perhaps, my Ukrainian roots are talking:))). My mom used to make it this way!

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