A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of visiting my Russian professor’s house. Olga Waesche, or Olga Ivanovna to be proper, is an excellent cook. She made borscht soup for us lucky Russian III students, as well as kotleti and Russian potato salad. What stood out to me the most, though, was the borscht soup.
Borscht is a traditional Russian soup made from beets, onions, cabbage, and potatoes. Its striking reddish-pink color comes from boiling the beets over a long period of time along with the other vegetables. That, combined with generous helpings of dill, led to an amazing taste experience. Normally I am not the biggest fan of beets, which could be because I’ve always had them pickled. But the combination of boiled beets and simmering additions made me completely reconsider my opinion of the vegetable. Russian cuisine is meant to build on flavors. For example, onions are often used as the “base” flavor for many dishes and other ingredients build on that. Since soup is mainly a bunch of ingredients boiled together, this means that all the vegetables shared their flavors with each other.
The soup was hearty, with some chunks of potato and onions. The color of the soup also added to the experience because I had never eaten something that shade of pink. It was deliciously warm and made to go with sour cream. A little dollop is all you need, and the sourness combined with the rich flavor of the soup made a satisfying dance across the taste buds. Unfortunately, the soup got cold pretty fast. Most likely this was because of the sour cream. Because it got cold so fast I had to take half of a star from the rating, but the taste and presentation of the soup more than made up for it. Very tasty! Очень вкусный!