I would never have thought I'd be making borscht at any point in my life. I recall reading some story in grade school that mentioned the stuff, and the teacher told us it was a Russian beet soup with sour cream. It wasn't the beets that turned me off, it was more the idea of sour cream. That wasn't something we ever had in our refrigerator at home, so when I heard "sour" I thought it meant "spoiled and rotten".
I had been reading Meesha's blog for a while when I caught the entry with the recipe for borscht. I think maybe it happened to be at a time when I had a lot of beets and cabbage in my garden, ready to harvest. Perfect timing! I like recipes with ingredients I already have on hand. By the way, if you want some foolproof veggies to grow in a garden, you can't do better than beets and cabbage, although you'll have to use something to keep those white butterflies (that lay eggs that hatch into nasty worms) off the cabbage.
When I tasted that first batch of borscht, my first thought was that it was the most bland-tasting soup I ever tried.
Then I put a dollop of sour cream in it. Ah, that was the secret. These days Cliff and I put several dollops in our borscht. Not too big a deal, since the borscht itself has almost no fat. We also discovered that we like some corn bread crumbled into our borscht, a case of Redneck meets Russia. Corn bread ain't exactly your perfect diet food, but we each take only once piece, split it in half, butter the crispy bottom half, and crumble the top have in the soup. Here's how it all added up when I put it on Sparkpeople:
You might think that's a lot of calories, but lunch (dinner to us) is our biggest meal of the day. So we can get by with that. A lot of relatives think my corn bread is special, but it's the same old recipe you'll find in most any cookbook. What makes it so good is that I heat up a cast iron skillet before I pour the batter in; that gives the corn bread the crispy bottom crust that we like so much. I would never think of making corn bread in a cake pan.
The worst thing about Meesha's recipe is that it makes so much. Today was the second day we've had it, and we will probably have it a third time tomorrow. After that, some borscht may have to go to the chickens. If it weren't for the fact that it has potatoes in it, I would freeze some. However, there isn't a lot of money tied up in a pot of borscht, since the beets and cabbage came from the garden. I guess I can afford to share with the chickens.
You can see why I don't feel I'm suffering when I count calories. I can have anything I want to eat. The bowls we use, by the way, are good-sized ones, containing two and a half cups of borscht. As a matter of fact, I'm stuffed. I think I'll go take a nap.