Russia, Borscht

Oct 31, 2014
2014 / October 2014

The first time I saw borscht was an Easter Sunday with my father’s family; he and his seven brothers and sisters are first-generation Americans, my paternal grandparents immigrants from Poland. I remember peering in a soup tureen on the counter and thinking, “Whoa, I’ve never seen a pink soup before!” and asking around, “What is that?” My reaction then, finding out it was essentially beet soup, was a resounding, “Yuck!”

Borscht, common throughout Eastern Europe with its origins in Ukraine, is one of Russia’s iconic dishes, commonly served across all classes and economic levels in the country. The name derives from the Slavic borschevik, for the plant hogweed. The Russian word borshch refers to cow parsnip, which was the original base of the soup.

Beetroot replaced cow parsnip as the basis of the dish, imparting to the soup its vibrant reddish color. At its heart, borscht is always beet-based, but many different methods of preparation exist. In Russia, beets, meats, cabbage and potatoes typically comprise the dish. Cookbook author Lynn Visson includes 12 different variations in The Russian Heritage Cookbook. Vinegar, also an essential ingredient, provides a tart flavor which balances the beets, stabilizes the pigment and helps to maintain borscht’s bright hue. An orange borscht is made from tomatoes, and green borscht has a sorrel base.

Beets are a good source of iron, magnesium, minerals and vitamins. Overall, borscht requires a minimal cook time. If one grates the beets first, the soup can cook in a matter of 20–25 minutes total — a meal or supper accompaniment on the table quickly.

Hot or cold? Hot borscht is the most popular — and more hearty — variety. Simmered in a beef or pork broth, it’s usually full of starchy vegetables, potatoes and chunks of meat and may also incorporate carrots or peppers. This version is usually served as an appetizer with dark rye or pumpernickel bread and sour cream on the side. Both are as essential to borscht as the beets and the vinegar.

The type I found myself in awe of that Easter Sunday morning was cold borscht. To prepare, chop and boil young beets. Once cooled, combine them with sour cream, soured milk, kefir or yogurt. Add chopped, raw vegetables like radishes or cucumbers and serve with sour cream and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Garnish with dill or parsley.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Sep 18, 2019

Joint Venture between American Airlines, Qantas Gets Green Light

Three years after an initial rejection, in mid-July the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a joint venture between American Airlines and Qantas Airways.

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

eFlyer Deals
Sep 18, 2019

New Delhi Package Offers

This New Delhi property offers visitors four options to pass the time.

eFlyer Deals
Sep 18, 2019

Family Get Together in Malaysia

The Hotel Jen Johor Puteri Harbour has excellent offers for families who need to make some quality time on the road.

TAP Air Portugal Adds 15 Flights Each Week From U.S., Canada

TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020,  a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.

eFlyer Deals
Sep 18, 2019

Get a Short Stay in Marrakech

Guests staying in Marrakech for two nights should take advantage of this offer.

Feature
Sep 18, 2019

Qantas Expands Business Lounge at Singapore Changi

Qantas reopened its Business Lounge inside Singapore’s Changi Airport after a renovation, expansion and addition of a new dining area.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Daily
Sep 18, 2019

New Loft-Style Villas Coming to Four Seasons Resort Maldives

Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.