It was a typical New England day, when you need a jacket in the shade and a bikini in the sunshine when we took a drive to Drumlin Farm, a Mass Audubon property. Left with hay in my sweater and a biodegradable bag full of organic vegetables, I decided on a warm soup.
I haven't made borscht in a while, nor was this a typical preparation. It's meat and cabbage free. Now, purists would say it isn't borscht then...in which case they can just refer to this as a beet soup.
4 carrots, peeled
5 small to medium beets, peeled
1/ 2 yellow onion, cleaned
4 medium, red potatoes, peeled
2 cloves garlic
1.75 quarts organic chicken stock
2 cups tomato juice
3 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp crushed seedless tomatoes (canned)
15 sprigs of dill
Sour cream, for serving
Chop onion. Slice garlic cloves. Grate 2 carrots, using a box grater. Slice the other two carrots in half, parallel the length. Chop into half-moons, about 2mm in width. Cut peeled potatoes into about 6 cubes each.
In a tall, thick bottomed pot, roast the chopped onion in olive oil and butter until just turning golden. Add grated carrots and garlic. Mix occasionally, until carrots are starting to brown. Add in the rest of the carrots and potatoes. Stir in about .75 quarts of chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and tomato juice. Add in the whole beets. Let cook on medium heat for about an hour, or until the beets are soft.
Remove the beets, and grate (they will be hot!), and return them into the soup. Add the rest of the chicken stock and tied dill. Let the soup return to boil and remove from heat. I didn't think any additional salt was necessary, the stock was enough. Serve with sour cream.