Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Russian Menu for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sochi (and a Borscht recipe)

I was going to wait to post about our celebratory meal for the opening of the Olympics in Sochi, but I found that there aren't many Russian-themed menus up for watching parties. So, I thought I would throw out what we will be having and see if anyone else has fun ideas for Russian food. There will only be three of us at our party (I know - we're wild), so the menu isn't extensive.

As it stands right now, our menu looks like this:
Borscht (see below for recipe)
Beef Stroganoff
Biskvit Raspberry Roulade (Roulette) Cake – Рулет

We will start with a steaming bowl of borscht - don't knock it til you've tried it.  I have a great recipe that is based on one given to me by my Ukrainian friend, Yulia, and one I found on The Fig Tree blog (also the source of the photo below, which I will replace once I have made mine).

1 large or 2 small beets, peeled and cut in half or quarters
2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 medium carrots, shredded
2 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 bunch fresh dill, fronds separated from stems
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 small head or 1/2 large head green cabbage, shredded
sour cream or greek yogurt for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place beets in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss to distribute the oil well. Roast the beets, turning once or twice during roasting, for 40 minutes (or until a thin-bladed knife pierces a piece of beet with little resistance). When the roasted beets are cool enough to handle, chop them as finely as possible.

Put the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and tomato paste. Cook until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue cooking the onions until golden and very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the beets, carrots, potatoes and bell pepper along with the dill stems (tied together in a bundle with kitchen twine or put them in your Pampered Chef Herb Infuser) and broth. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add shredded cabbage, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup is well colored and beets are starting to melt away, about 10 minutes.

Remove the dill stems from the soup. Add the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Chop the dill fronds and sprinkle them into the borscht reserving some for garnish.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with dill.
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