Farm Fresh Meals for Fall #1 – Borscht
Just as the weather changes with the seasons, so do our palates. And with the arrival of fall, it’s time to take advantage of the Merrimack Valley’s bountiful harvest. Here, local farmers and community gardeners share favorite recipes that are sure to tempt your autumn appetite.
Serves 8 – from Farmer Dave’s
3 medium-size beets, plus greens
6 cups water or broth of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
5 white or yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
(3 peeled and quartered; 2 diced and peeled, if desired)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup milk, cream or nondairy milk
1 1/2 cups finely shredded red or green cabbage
1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 large bunch fresh dill, snipped with scissors
1. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut off skin of beets, without taking too much beet flesh. Cut peeled beets into quarters. Wash beet greens to remove any soil and roughly chop. Set aside.
2. Place water, salt, carrots, the 3 quartered potatoes, beets and beet greens in a large soup pot over high heat. Bring to a boil.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate saute pan over medium heat, heat olive oil or melt butter.
4. Saute onion until tender, approximately 5 minutes.
5. Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.
6. When beets are tender, about 30 minutes later, use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove them from pot, along with potatoes.
7. Chop up half of these beets into bite-size pieces, and place the other half in a blender or food processor,
along with potatoes.
8. Add milk and blend until smooth (you can also mash them by hand). Return bite-size beets and mashed beets/potatoes back to the soup pot.
9. At the same time, add remaining 2 diced potatoes, shredded cabbage, 1 tablespoon chopped dill and tomato/onion mixture to the soup pot. Simmer stew until potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Spoon into individual serving bowls and top with a generous amount of dill. Fresh dill is key to this dish, so don’t be stingy with it!
11. Serve hot.
Dave Dumaresq’s mother is half Polish, so he ate borscht a couple of times a year growing up. He always liked the taste of this deep red soup made with beets, and has been eating it more and more often over the years, especially since he began hosting international interns on his farm, some of them from the Ukraine, where borscht is believed to have originated. He also has begun to grow more of the ingredients that are used in the soup. Farmer Dave’s grows more than 70 different crops on 90 acres throughout Dracut and Tewksbury. Dumaresq’s diverse selection of produce — grown largely by organic methods — can be found at his own farm stands, at nearly a dozen farmers markets and through his community supported agriculture (CSA) program, the membership of which has grown rapidly since its inception in 2007. “My goal is to make sure members have a full box of diverse produce every week,” Dumaresq says.