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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Winter Borscht

Julia Moskin  
  Time 1 hour 
 Yield 6 to 8 servings 

Vushka are plump mushroom-and onion-filled dumplings resembling tortellini. “Vushka” means little ears in Ukrainian, and with their curvy whorls, that’s just what they look like, especially when they turn bright red in a bowl of this Christmas borscht served during Sviata Vecheria, the traditional 12-dish Ukrainian dinner that is meatless and dairy-free. The East Village restaurant Veselka serves the meal from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6.

Featured in: A Ukrainian Beacon In The East Village.

2 pounds beets, trimmed and scrubbed (do not peel)
¾ cup white vinegar
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
5 whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon sugar, more to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
 Mushroom and onion dumplings (vushka) (optional, see recipe)
 Chopped dill, for garnish

Step 1
Coarsely chop beets, preferably in a food processor. In a medium pot, combine beets, 4 cups water and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until beets are soft, about 45 minutes. Strain and set juice aside. (Beets can be used for another purpose, like salad.)
Step 2
Meanwhile, in a deep pot, combine carrot, celery, onion, stock, bay leaves and allspice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes. Strain and discard aromatics and vegetables.
Step 3
Combine strained stock and beet juice and simmer 5 minutes. Add sugar, garlic and black pepper. Season to taste with sugar and salt. Serve with dumplings, if desired, and sprinkle with dill.

Adapted from “The Veselka Cookbook,” by Tom Birchard with Natalie Danford (St. Martin’s Press, 2009)

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)
152 calories; 2 grams fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 26 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 15 grams sugars; 6 grams protein; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 358 milligrams sodium

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