Friday, May 17, 2013

Borscht with a Vegan Touch

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.

A soup that is richly aromatic, tangy and hearty soup which can be eaten cold or hot and is loved by many especially in Central and Eastern Europe, primarily in Russia, Poland, and Ukraine. The beetroot, its main ingredient, gives this soup its dark reddish color. On hot days like in the summer, this soup is best served when cold while in the cold winter days it is best served when hot. In some regions and recipes, the main ingredient is tomato and the beet-root becomes as the secondary ingredient. Other ingredients that may be added are cabbage, carrots and peppers. When served cold, this soup can be garnished with chopped veggies such as radishes and cucumbers, soured milk, kefir and yogurt. Also, it serves as a nutritious and light meal alone or is served with rye bread as a sumptuous appetizer. This sharp, sweet soup garnished with vegan sour cream, capers and fresh dill is already completely delicious as is. For a heartier soup, potato-onion pierogies can be added to it. When you are pressed for time on certain days, you would do yourself a favor by cooking this in a crock pot or slow cooker and let the soup be infused with the flavors of the greens and dills even more. The soup is:

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp cooking oil
3 large yellow beets, diced
3 large red beets, diced
2 large potatoes, roughly chopped
1 C celeriac (celery root), roughly chopped
1/2 C fennel bulb, roughly chopped
10 C water2 C red wine1 tbsp tamari sauce
2 tsp each: celery seed, allspice
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 bunch beet greens, washed and chopped into ribbons
1 bunch fresh dill OR 2-4 tbsp dried dill
Fresh dill, capers, vegan sour cream, or other garnishes

1. Using a very big soup pot, sauté garlic and onions in cooking oil. 
2. Put allspice, celery seed, tamari, wine, water, fennel, celeriac, potatoes and beets. 
3. Boil then lessen the heat and simmer. 
4. Cover for 30 minutes or until the fork can easily pierce the beets. 
5. Add dill, beet greens and vinegar, then simmer for another 5 minutes until all the greens look bright in the soup pot. 
6. You may serve this dish as is or it can be garnished with capers, fresh dill and/or vegan sour cream. Enjoy!

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