Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pressure-cooker borscht

The borscht produced by this recipe is actually quite different from Borsht No.1. The beet is cooked first, then the remaining root vegetables and cabbage. All the ingredients are brought together just before the borscht is eaten. Aficionados of borscht will certainly notice the difference. They'll love it anyway.

Pressure-cooker borscht

                                                                              Yield: 4 - 6 servings


1 medium-sized beet, about 7.5 cm. (3 in) in diameter
3 cups water
1 cup purple cabbage, grated
½ cup red onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup rutabaga, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh dill (whole)
2 - 3 cups pot liquor from steaming the beet
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons commercial soured cream for each bowl of borscht

Chopped beet (center), chopped rutabaga (top right),
grated carrot (bottom right), and grated purple cabbage


1. Thoroughly wash the vegetables.

2. Place beet in pressure cooker with 3 cups of water. Raise temperature to boiling on 'High' heat, then reduce heat to 'Medium' and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, leaving the pressure cooker as it is to steam until the safety lock releases. 

3. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining vegetables as indicated above, i.e., grate the cabbage and carrot, peel and dice the rutabaga and red onion, and mince the garlic. 

4. When the pressure cooker's safety lock releases, remove beet to an air-tight container and leave to cool. Pour the liquid from the pressure cooker into a heat-proof container and reserve.

5. Place a steamer basket inside the pressure cooker. (See Pressure cooker - Part 2 to see what a steamer basket looks like if you don't know). Add three cups of water to the pressure cooker, just enough to touch the bottom of the a heat-proof, non-reactive dish, such as Pyrex™ or Corning Ware™, which you will place inside the steamer basket. 

Chopped and grated vegetables, except beets,
ready for cooking in the pressure cooker

5. Add the fresh dill and prepared vegetables, except the beet, to the dish inside the pressure cooker. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook these vegetables as you did the beet.

6. Meanwhile, peel and dice the beet, making a small dice. 

7. When the pressure cooker's safety lock releases, the prepared vegetables are finished cooking. Remove them to a non-reactive* soup pot, such as the glass pot shown in the image below. 

8.  Add diced beet, and the pot liquor reserved from cooking the beet. Bring to boil, then remove from the heat.

9. Add lemon juice and stir.

Beets and all borscht ingredients melding flavours prior to serving

10. Ladle into soup bowls and top each with commercial soured cream.

* The purpose of using a non-reactive cooking pot is to retain as much colour -- and therefore, phyto-nutrients -- as possible in borscht.


Barry said...

I am always amazed your efforts consistently turn out like works of art. It appears I may need a pressure cooker. I seem to remember owning one many years ago and listening to the little, bobbing weight maintaining the pressure. It was a nice sound. But I am getting carried away. First I have committed myself to dusting out the oven, if indeed the door actually opens. I may even try turning it on while making a quick retreat to a safe location ;-)

jara said...

Dusting out the oven may be a good place to start. If cooking is alien to you, from where do you get all the vigour and vitality required to hike all over and around Alberta and other parts of North America? I suppose having a resident chef is one possible answer.