Borscht: a soup of many traditions in Eastern Europe. Depending on who you talk to about borscht, there are many right and wrong ways to make this delicious soup. I encourage you to find your favorite borscht recipe. When searching for a good recipe, make sure to read the comments at the end of each recipe for a full indoctrination into how strongly people feel about their classic and traditional borscht recipes.
Borscht and Chinese Medicine
Borscht really doesn’t exist in Chinese medicine, but we can bring an Chinese medicinal nutritionist’s point of view to the ingredients of borscht. A traditional borscht uses the basics of beef bone stock, beets, and cabbage. The other ingredients change somewhat drastically depending on the recipe.
If you read last week’s post https://stickoutyourtongue.org/2014/03/26/springtime-tips-for-a-happy-liver/, then you know that the Liver and Gallbladder meridians are strongly related to the emotions of anger, frustration, rage, and general irritability. Basically, when stress or other frustrating circumstances arise in your life, the liver can easily take that on. The friction of stress in the body will ‘dry’ out the liver and constrict its ability to help qi (energy) circulation in your body. This leads to pain and emotional symptoms. Read my previous post for a more detailed description.
You can do a significant world of good for your liver with a few simple ingredients. Today we feature one fabulous recipe to sooth your liver.
The foods that soften, soothe, and nourish the liver in its time of aggravated need are: bone broths to support the blood and yin of the liver. The way Chinese medicine views these liquid components is that they act to soften a tight, dry, angry liver. The other foods that essentially ‘soothe’ and aggro liver are sweet root vegetables, namely beets and carrots. Sour is the flavor of the liver, so topping the whole shebang with a dollop of sour cream will complete the meal nicely.
My Borscht Recipe
- 2-3 medium to large red beets
- 1 small cabbage
- 2 medium sized potatoes (if you want extra color and antioxidants, use purple potatoes)
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoons carraway seeds
- 8 cups beef bone broth or stock
- sour cream to garnish
- optional: dill to garnish
Roughly chop all of the vegetables. I like large rustic chunks, but you may like smaller, bite-sized bits. Chop to your liking. In a thick-bottomed soup pot, add the olive oil, caraway seeds, and onion chunks. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onion begins to become transparent. Add the rest of the root vegetables and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the bone broth or a vegetarian substitution and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes or until all the vegetables become easily pierced with a fork. The end result will be a beautiful, ruby red soup.
Ladle up in to bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream, dill, and chives. Devour.