After making this vibrant, bright soup, I thought to myself – of all the delectable recipes in her cookbook cat cora’s classics with a twist, I chose the borscht?? As Cat Cora says, either you love beets or hate them. Unfortunately, most people, and I firmly believe its only because they’re sole experience with beets have been the canned variety, fall in the latter category. Thankfully, the presence of roasted beet salads on restaurant menus has exposed a greater portion of the foodie population to beets. Like Cat Cora, I believe that we could move the minds of the haters, if we had the chance to serve them some of our favorite roasted beet dishes, so don’t give in to preconceived notions, give this under appreciated root vegetable a chance to prove itself!
Borscht with Horseradish Feta Cream
1 lb. beets (4 small or 2 large)*
2-4 cups kosher salt for roasting
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups Cat’s Rich Chicken Stock or organic low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnish:2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Horseradish Feta Cream
½ cup creme fraiche**
1½ tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions for the borscht:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*Include extra beets if you want to make a salad later in the week. Scrub the beets and pat them dry with paper towels. Fill a 9-by-13 inch baking pan about one quarter full of kosher salt and rest the bets on top of the salt. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over the beets. Roast until the beets are tender (a fork slides easily into a beet), about 1 hour for small beets and 1½ hours for larger beets.
Remove the pan from the oven. Leave the beets on the salt and when cool enough to handle (about 30 minutes), peel the skins off and chop the beets. Note: I use gloves to peel the beets, so I don’t end up with beet red hands Set aside.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to show signs of browning, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the vinegar and the beets, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 10 minutes, until the flavors meld. Serve chunky or let the soup cool and puree in a blender (hold the lid on) or in the cooking pot with an immersion blender.
Meanwhile prepare the Horseradish Feta Cream:
**I substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche. Combine the sour cream, horseradish, and feta cheese in a blender or food processor and blend at low speed for about 3 minutes. Or you can combine the ingredients in a bowl and use an immersion blender.
Add the lemon juice and pulse for a few seconds to blend. Add a few grinds of black pepper and red pepper flakes if you like a bit of heat, pulse to blend again. Cover and refrigerate. Serve borscht with a dollop of horseradish feta cream.
I was totally smitten by the horseradish feta cream which provides the twist that the title of the cookbook eludes to. I saved every last bit of it and can tell you that it was delicious spread on rye toast, on top of my Sunday football sliders with caramelized onions, and as a tantalizing accompaniment to grilled steaks.
And now for the GIVEAWAY: (giveaway is closed)
For a chance to win cat cora’s classics WITH A TWIST , signed by Cat Cora at a taping of Disney’s Muppet Kitchen, all you have to do is:
1. “Like” my Facebook page (yes, its called TopMomBlog but She’s Cookin’ cooks there) by clicking on the widget in the sidebar, and
2. Leave a comment below telling us whether you like or loathe beets or how you prefer your beets or whatever you feel deep down about beets
The winner will be selected by random number generator at midnight CST on Sunday October 17th and announced here and on Facebook.