Borsch me like a hurricane
What an amazing soup this is! For many people when they see borsch for the first time it seems like an overload of vegetables and looks more like a second course dish than a soup. I even saw someone in the US fish out the vegetables and eat them between two slices of bread like a sandwich, while drinking the soup separately. Crazy, but hey, whatever makes you happy.
My Ukrainian friends would butcher me for this borsch, but my excuse is that this is a quick Central Asian version (sometimes we need to use geography to our advantage). I'm surprised I didn't walk away with plov while trying to cook borsch here...it was close.
Of course, the real deal requires making bone-based stock for hours and implies a great variation in approaches to handling the vegetables. So many debatable questions are involved here - do you cut or grade the beats, do you julienne or dice other vegetables, do you add the kidney beans or not, do you add cabbage or bell peppers? There is no definite answer. But, one thing is certain - all great dishes spark heated debates and vary greatly in approaches to preparation. I find this variation to be a wonderful thing as plovism celebrates the diversity of ideas and approaches.
Borsch (borscht) is well-known and loved around the world. To Central Asia, it came along with the Slavic peoples and greatly enriched the regional cuisine. In Uzbekistan, it appears under the "European dishes" section in restaurant menus but is definitely made with the consideration of a local flavour profile.
Here is my take on borsch. You will need meat, onions, garlic, carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes (and or tomato paste), bay leaves, kidney beans, cabbage, dill, sour cream. Use rustic bread for service and rub some garlic on it. Ummmm. Delicious!
You can easily make this amazing soup vegetarian or vegan! Enjoy!