Variety of recipes for beet soup

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Joan Weeks of Cape Girardeau has requested recipes for borscht, or beet soup. After looking in several cookbooks, I did find many different recipes with many different spellings -- three different ways, so take your pick of spelling and of the recipes.

My very dear friend from first grade has recently been a missionary in Moscow and will be returning later this year. I should try to track her down and find a real authentic recipe for Joan straight from Russia.

If you have a favorite recipe, please send it in so Joan will have several to choose from. She has a jar of home-canned beets she is saving just to try with these recipes.

Borscht Moskovskaya (Russia) Moscow-Style Beet Soup

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1 1/2 pounds beets, peeled and cut into strips 1/8 inch wide by 2 inches long, about 5 cups

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 quarts beef stock

1/2 pound white cabbage, quartered, cored and coarsely shredded

1/4 pound boiled ham, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 pound all-beef frankfurters, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

1 pound boiled brisket from the stock, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 sprigs parsley, tied together with 1 bay leaf

1/2 cup finely cut fresh dill or chopped parsley

1 cup sour cream

In a 6- to 8-quart pot, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onions and, stirring frequently, cook 3 to 5 minutes or until they are soft but not brown. Stir in the beets, then add the wine vinegar, sugar, chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of the salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Pour in 1/2 cup of the stock, cover the pan and simmer undisturbed for 50 minutes. Pour the remaining stock into the pot and add the chopped cabbage. Bring to a boil, then stir in the ham, frankfurters and beef. Submerge the tied parsley and bay leaf in the soup, add another teaspoon of salt, and simmer partially covered for 1/2 hour. Transfer the borscht to a large tureen and sprinkle with fresh dill or parsley. Accompany the soup with a bowl of sour cream, to be added to the borscht at the discretion of each diner. Serves 6 to 8.

We recently had a recipe request for pickled eggs from Opal Rodgers, and I have another recipe to share with you today. This one sent in by an avid cook and recipe collector.

Pickled Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs

Shell eggs and stick 4 cloves in each one. Boil 2 cups vinegar. Make a paste of 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper with a little cold vinegar and add to the boiling vinegar. Stir about 1 minute. Put eggs in a glass jar. Pour boiling vinegar over them. Cover and refrigerate about 2 weeks.

Jodi Thompson sends in these recipes to help us enjoy the beautiful asparagus in the grocery stores right now.

Asparagus Casserole

Garnish with toasted almonds, crushed potato chips or cracker crumbs, if desired

1 pound fresh asparagus

5 hard cooked eggs, chopped

2 cups diced ham

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons tapioca

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim asparagus and cut into 3/4 inch pieces; blanch in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and drain. Place asparagus, ham and eggs in a lightly greased 9-by-13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl combine the onion, bell pepper, cheese, tapioca, parsley, lemon juice, soup and milk; mix well. Pour mixture into baking dish and stir together with asparagus, ham and eggs. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until cooked through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom and Asparagus Strata

1 pound thin asparagus spears

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups (about 2 ounces) sliced fresh variety mushrooms (such as button, and/or shiitake)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper

2 cups shredded Swiss and/or Edam cheese (8 ounces)

2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill

6 slices French or Italian bread, cut into 4-by-1-by-1 inch sticks

6 eggs

2 1/4 cups half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk

1/4 cup grated Romano, Parmesan, or other hard grating cheese

Clean asparagus; snap off woody bases. If spears are thick, cut in half lengthwise. Cut spears into 3-inch pieces. In a large saucepan bring a small amount of water to boiling. Add asparagus. Cook, uncovered, 1 minute. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels. Lightly grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. In a large skillet heat oil, add mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring often; set aside. In a bowl toss together the Swiss cheese and dill. Arrange half the bread in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the mushrooms, half of the cheese mixture, and half of the asparagus. Repeat with remaining mushrooms, cheese mixture and asparagus. Top with remaining bread pieces. In a bowl beat together eggs and half-and-half. Pour mixture over layers in dish. Press lightly with back of a spoon to thoroughly moisten bread. Sprinkle grated cheese over top. Cover and chill 2 hours. Bake, uncovered, in a 325 degree oven about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 6 to 8 servings. To make ahead: Layer the strata and pour the egg mixture over layers. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Bake, uncovered, as directed above.

This chicken recipe has very good flavor, is moist, and just downright good, said Jodi Thompson when she gave this recipe to me. The mushrooms are optional, but they make a delicious addition. This chicken dish is perfect for a family dinner or a small party.

Fast and Fancy Chicken

3 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned, and split

6 slices Swiss cheese

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced, optional

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup white wine or 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup water

2 cups herb stuffing mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Place the chicken in a single layer in the baking dish. Top each piece with a slice of cheese. Sprinkle the mushrooms over the cheese. Mix together the soup and wine and pour over the chicken. Spread the dry stuffing mix over the top. Drizzle the melted butter over the stuffing. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes. Serve hot. Yields 6 servings.

While I was at the Central bubble taking our daughter for a swim, a woman approached me and asked if I was the recipe lady in the newspaper. It was a little embarrassing; but really all she wanted was a recipe. She had eaten bourbon chicken at the Plaza Galleria in St. Louis and said it was the best she had ever eaten and wondered if anyone had a recipe to share with her. I hope she gets a huge response.

Have a wonderful week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699; Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: