It’s time! This is the week I answer your food and cooking questions, and share your favorite recipes.
Do you have a good recipe to use up red beets? - LouElla in Bird-in-Hand
Yes! My family loves borsch, a popular vegetable soup originating in the Ukraine. There are as many different versions of borsch as there are of American vegetable soup. But the ingredient that sets borsch apart is red beets. Feel free to use kidney beans or sausage instead of beef. Canned beets can also be substituted for fresh beets.
2 large red beets
2 large potatoes
1 lb hamburger
½ head of cabbage
5 Tb tomato paste
2 Tb honey
4 Tb lemon juice
6 cups of chicken or beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 Tb chopped dill
½ head of cabbage
Scrub the red beets. Remove any old stems but do not cut off the root or stems. Fill a large pot with water. Add the red beets and gently boil for about an hour until soft. Remove the beets to cool, and reserve the water.
Chop or slice the potatoes and cook in the beet water for 15 minutes.
Dice the onion and shred the carrots. Peel and julienne or shred the red beets. Shred the cabbage.
Put a generous drizzle of olive oil or a few tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot, and sauté the hamburger, onions and carrots until soft.
Stir in the tomato paste, honey, lemon juice, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and dill. Add the broth, potatoes, red beets, and a few cups of the beet water.
Bring to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is done. Add more beet water as desired. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
I think you had a recipe for béchamel sauce, but I can’t find it. Will you share it? - Sandy in Sinking Springs
Certainly! For those wondering, béchamel is a white sauce comprised of a flour and butter roux, and cream or milk. It is used to create cream soups and sauces or as a topping on pasta, nachos or sandwiches.
To make a béchamel sauce, melt 1 Tb butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in 2 heaping Tbs flour until a smooth paste (roux) forms. Continue to whisk one more minute to cook the flour. Season with kosher salt.
Add 2 cups of milk a little at a time, continually whisking.
Add a ¼ onion, pinch of ground nutmeg, and 2 cloves, allspice, or peppercorns. Simmer for 45 minutes, then remove the onion and cloves. Yields 2 cups.
Note: Add 1-2 cups shredded cheese to create a cheese sauce (mornay sauce).
From Joyce in Lancaster
Every fall, when it starts to get cold, I start a crockpot of broth and keep it cooking all winter long. It’s great to have warm broth handy when I want to make soup, or need a hot drink to warm up. I got this idea from www.nourishedkitchen.com.
Fill your crockpot up with beef or chicken bones. Add 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Fill with water, cover and set the crockpot to low. You can also add veggie scraps such as onions and garlic.
You can start using the broth after 24 hours. As you take broth out, put the same amount of water back in. After a week the bones will crush easily, and you know you got all the nutrients out of them. Discard the bones, put the broth in the fridge, wash the crockpot and start over.
The last Tuesday of the month I endeavor to answer your questions and share your favorite recipes. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.