What better thing to do with beets on a hot summer day? We followed the recipe from Anya von Bremzen’sPlease to the Table: The Russian Cookbook, which I wholeheartedly recommend; it also has a great hot borscht recipe. We made some modifications to the cold borscht recipe to make it more like the cold borscht (actually, svekol’nik) made by ib’s great-grandmother.
1.5 pounds CSA beets trimmed of all but 1 inch stems
9 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1.5 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 large boiling potatoes, peeled, boiled, and diced
4 medium-sized kirby cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1 cup diced red radishes
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1 cup mixed scallions, dill, and parsley (we only used dill, which we got from our CSA) sour cream for garnish
In a large pot, bring the beets and water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the beets are tender, about a half hour.
Stir the beets back into the liquid. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes more. Adjust amount of sugar to taste. Cool the soup, then refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 2 hrs. (We took a portion and stuck it in the freezer; it still took a while to cool.)
In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, eggs, and herbs to mix well.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Either spoon about 2 tablespoons of vegetable and egg mixture into each bowl or, as is the custom in Russia, serve it separately in a decorative serving dish. The sour cream should also be served on the side.
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