Borscht y Russki Salat

This is a recipe I found online at Rus Cuisine, and tweaked a little to suit my tastes.  It’s been too long since I had Russian food…  The Motherland calls!

Veganskii Borscht
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (1 large)
4 cups beets, peeled and julienned (3 medium)
1/2 cup carrot, chopped (1 small)
5 tsp tomato paste
16 cup vegetable stock, low-sodium, plus water if desired
2 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed (2 large)
6 cups cabbage, julienned (1 medium)
1 1/2 Not Beef cubes
3/4 cup bell pepper, chopped (1medium)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
4 tbs fresh dill weed
onions, loosely chopped (garnish)
dill, loosely chopped
sour cream (garnish)
Peel and julienne beets. Julienne cabbage, carrots, and onions. Wash and cube potatoes. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add beets and carrot. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Add potato and boil until soft. Puree tomato paste, bell pepper, garlic, 4 tbs dill, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add to potato pot. Add cabbage and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add beets, onion, and carrot. Slow cook until all veggies are soft. To serve, top with loosely chopped green onions, dill, and parsley.  Add a tablespoon of sour cream.  Serve hot.
All ingredients ready to go!  Top row, left to right:  cabbage (green with a little purple), gold potatoes, red and gold beets.  Bottom row, left to right:  yellow bell pepper, fresh dill and garlic cloves, carrots, onions.
Beets and onions.  I sauteed the onions first, then added the beets.  You can also add carrots, but I didn’t have enough room, so I boiled them with the potatoes.

Everything in the soup pot!  I had to use a large crawfish boil pot to hold all the ingredients.  

Choose a high-quality black bread or rye to serve with your borscht.  This was the best I could find.  :/

As I remember it, this simple salad was served with almost every meal.  In fact, when I asked for salad the first time in Russia, I was dumbfounded by the fact that it didn’t include lettuce at all.  I like to make  Russki Salat ahead of time, and let the veggies and herbs marinade together.  It’s friggin delicious.
Russki Salat
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch dill
1 firm tomato
1 cucumber
3 tbs sunflower oil
2 tbs vinegar
freshly ground salt
freshly ground black pepper
Option 1:  (This is the way it was served most often.)  Slice tomato and cucumber into 1/4 inch rounds.  Loosely chop parsley, and dill.  Trim the root ends off the green onions and cut to desired length.  Layer tomato, cucumber, and green onions on a plate.  Top with chopped herbs, and douse with sunflower oil and vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve.
Option 2:  (This method of preparation reminds me more of a Meditarranean Fattoush salad.  Best if you don’t plan on eating it right away, or want to make a lot ahead of time.)  Chop tomato into 1/2 inch sections.  Chop cucumber into 1/4 inch sections.  Remove the root end of the green onions, and chop to 1/4 inch sections.  Toss with cucumber and tomato in a large bowl.  Finely chop parsley and dill, and add to mixture.  Dress with sunflower oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Serve.

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