4 mushrooms, dried; or 5
4 large beets
1 quart stock or beef bouillon
1/2 cup liquid from canned pickled beets
1 teaspoon sugar
1 salt and pepper; to taste
Soak mushrooms in lukewarm ater to cover for 20 mins. Squeeze dry and slice. Reserve liquid. Wash beets. Peel and chop finely. Put in a large saucepan with mushrooms, reserved liquid, and stock; bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook slowly, covered until tender, about 35 mins. Put through a sieve. Mix with pickled beet liquid, sugar, salt and pepper; heat. Serves 4.
NOTE: For a more tart flavor, add wine vinegar or lemon juice, about 1 Tbs, to the soup.
NOTES : Since the earliest times a beet soup, barszcz, has been served in Poland for everyday and company meals. It is traditional for both Christmas and Easter dinners, and it is served cold for the harvest festival. There are innumerable varieties if barszcz, which can be made with vegetable or meat broth and can be either clear or include several ingredients. The foundation for the true barszcz, however, is a tart ferment called kwas, which is made from sour rye bread and beets. Kwas is not generally available in America. The following clear barszcz may contain cooked potatoes, sliced sausages, cooked meat or filled pastries, and if desired may be garnished with sour cream.
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