Blackberry Borscht

Friends, let’s tangle apron strings! On Thursday,  February 11, 2016 Victoria Godfrey (speaking for myself) will be offering another Soup Workshop at Pharsalia http://pharsaliaevents.com in Nelson County, Virginia. The main kitchen of this remarkable plantation, dating back to 1814, is truly the place to be on a frosty winter day. The big oven roasting, pots bubbling on the stove and the fireplace crackling, well, it doesn’t get much cozier. When you look out the windows and see DePriest Mountain capped with frost you will understand.

This workshop starts with stock. First, the elusive vegetable stock. Often a thin, poor relative to other bases, we’ll cook up a vegan stock you will find satisfying unto itself. Next “High Test Chicken Stock” with a couple of spins stirred in. Mind you, while sipping your coffee or tea we will be tasting these recipes. Also, you will have the recipes before you in a folder to take notes on and carry home with you.

Roasted Green Chile Haddock Stew. I make it and she arrives at my door, Wendy Gray that is. Wendy of Herban Moonshine fame and a twinkle light wherever she turns up. When you endeavor to make a delicious informative luncheon you need a Girl Friday. I got one! Wendy is adept at crowd control which we will need as THERE WILL BE door prizes: fresh eggs, quarts of stock, apple butter, cutting boards from http://smittyshardwood.com and some elixirs from Herban Moonshine. Everybody leaves sated and a winner after a luncheon in the elegant dining room.

Please visit http://www.pharsaliaevents.com to sign up. We have a few spots left and would enjoy your enthusiastic self there to tangle those apron strings with!

Here’s a recipe from the last soup workshop. If you serve it warm, do heat it gently to protect the delicate berry flavors. A great hot winter alternative is to skip the berries and add some fresh rosemaryKP201411_9625.

  BEET BLACKBERRY BORSCHT

This striking soup can be served chilled in the summer when blackberries are at their peak, or it can be offered warm as a wintertime treat when you pull out those berries and beets you have frozen.  This is a light vegan version of its meaty namesake.

__­­__    Beets

____    Blackberries

____    Water

____    Lemon

____    Salt

____    White pepper, ground

My favorite way to prepare beets is to grow them, eat the tender greens as they develop, then when the roots are about the size of a baseball (depending on variety) harvest them. Or you can skip ahead to the farmer’s market at this point.

beets 033

Cut the tops off of the beets leaving the stem on the root.  Scrub under water to remove as much dirt as possible.

Wrap several tightly in foil, place on baking sheet and bake at 350 about an hour or until a knife inserted feels like a baked potato consistency.  Allow to cool to the point you can handle them.

Remove the stems and peel the skins from the beets.  At this juncture, they can be frozen for later use.

Place the just baked or baked, frozen and thawed beets in a blender.  Add water, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth adding water as necessary to reach a creamy consistency.

Pour about 2/3 of the contents of the blender into a bowl.

Add blackberries to the remaining beets, puree and blend well.  Do not try to pulverize the seeds.

Pour the contents of the blender into a fine sieve.  Stir this with a spoon pressing the creamy contents through into your beet bowl.  When you have nothing but seed pulp in the sieve remaining, discard that.  Pour contents of the bowl back into blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.

Serve chilled or gently warmed (remember, the beets are already cooked and the berry flavor is delicate). May be topped with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream and garnished with a berry.

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