June 15, 2011

'Svekolnik' - Russian Summer vegetable soup


Beet - 1 large or 2-3 small - peeled
potato - 1-2
eggs - half for each serving - boiled and halved
fresh herbs (green onion, parsley, dill, cilantro) - a large bunch of all together - chopped
cucumber - 1 medium
garlic - 4-5 cloves - finely chopped
salt, paper - to taste
sour-cream - 1 spoon for each serving
brown sugar - to taste (about 1 tbs)
lemon - 1 medium


Cook beets in boiling water till soft. Take beets out, but save the liquid. Squeeze lemon juice and add to the broth (save the rest of the lemon). Also add salt and sugar till the broth is tasty, but not too sweet or too salty. It has to be a little sour. Let beets cool down and shred them and add back to the liquid. Refrigerate. Cook potatoes in separate pot in boiling water till soft. When cooled, peel potatoes and shred them. Shred cucumber. Mince garlic.

Mix potatoes, cucumber, and herbs (save a small part for garnish). Add a pinch of the lemon zest finely minced. When serving: put the vegetable mix on the plates first, add the liquid part with beets, add garlic, garnish with herbs, add 1 or 2 egg halves on each plate, few very small pieces of lemon thinly sliced, and top with sour-cream.
Leftover vegetable mix and the beet liquid have to be refrigerated separately.

The taste depends on three ingredients (like in Indian kitchen :). The key ingredients are lemon, salt and sugar. They need to fix in that fine proportion that the result (the soup) should be sweet, sour and salty at the same time.