Doukhobor Borscht

We spent 2 years living in Castlegar, BC – Doukhobor territory – and I was determined to leave there with the best authentic borsch recipe I could.  Here it is – written out in this format so that you follow each step exactly.   This is a very rich, creamy and delicious version of Borscht – nothing at all like the beet borscht. 

It is a labour of love to make, but you will be so glad you did it.  Perfect for a rainy or cold day when you are going to be inside anyway!

Boil 2 ½ quarts of water in large stock pot.  Add ½ can tomatoes.  When water is boiling, add 1 tbsp salt, drop in 5 or 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half.  Add ½ cup each of grated carrot and beet, and 1 medium onion, finely chopped.

While this is cooking, get yourself another large pot or cast iron pan – melt 3 tbsp butter and add ¾ cup finely chopped onion and let sauté for a few minutes until very soft and translucent – but DO NOT brown.  Add 3 cups of canned tomatoes, and let simmer until it becomes a thick sauce.  (Cooking this well removes the acid from the tomatoes so your cream won’t curdle)

Into yet another frying pan melt 3 tbsp butter and add 2 cups shredded cabbage.  Saute but do not brown.  Allow to cook until cabbage is soft and tender.  Shred another 2 cups of cabbage to add (raw) to the borscht later.

When potatoes are tender, remove them to a large bowl, add 2 tbsp butter and mash well until they are nice and creamy – slowly adding 1 small carton of cream.  Mix well and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 cup diced raw potatoes to stockpot and ½ of the tomato sauce mixture along with 2 tbsp butter.  When diced potatoes are tender add the uncooked shredded cabbage and bring to boiling point, but DO NOT BOIL!!  When cabbage is tender, add the fried cabbage, the rest of the tomato sauce and mashed potatoes.  Add ½ cup chopped fresh green pepper and black pepper to taste.

The finishing touch is stirring in some chopped fresh dill.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a dill sprig for garnish.  We like this with piping hot biscuits right out of the oven.

Tomato Vegetable Soup

Feeling like a hearty bowl of soup on a cool night?  This is perfect!  

Serve with Baking Powder Biscuits for a complete meal.

1 large onion – minced                          

3 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 large potato, diced

1 small turnip, diced

1/2 cup green beans, sliced

1 cup green zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp basil, chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

olive oil

Any other vegetables are always optional, and always welcomed to a pot of soup!

Heat a large soup pot, then add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom.  Add diced onions and allow to cook long enough to soften and become translucent.  Add potatoes, carrots and celery.  Stir and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and vegetable stock – season to taste with salt and pepper.

Allow to simmer until vegetables are just barely fork tender.  Stir in green beans and zucchini and cook just until they are cooked through.  Add fresh basil and any other herbs you feel like adding!

Options:  Use more vegetable stock and add barley when the potato mixture goes in or cook some pasta separately and serve the soup over the cooked pasta.  (I like to cook the pasta separately so it doesn’t get too mushy.) If you want a chicken soup, use chicken stock instead of the vegetable stock and add some chopped up chicken with the stock.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup

If you aren’t sure about fennel – trust me – this is a great place to start!  The soup is so hearty and just packed with flavour.  

2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and quartered

good olive oil                                                                

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 cups yellow onions, diced

2 cups chopped fennel bulb

1 cup sliced leeks

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Garnish:  finely sliced chives and crispy bacon bits (those little purple flowers on the chives are great as part of your garnish or in a salad too!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper.  Spread on baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until cooked through and just starting to get a bit crispy.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large soup pot – saute onions, leek and fennel until translucent and tender – should be around 15 minutes.  Add roasted potatoes, including any tasty little bits stuck to your roasting sheet.  Cover with stock.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, until all vegetables are soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree until soup is smooth and velvety.

If you are using a regular blender, puree in batches.

Be very cautious to leave the lid slightly ajar or the center portion removed to allow steam to escape any time you are blending hot ingredients.

Once the soup has been blended, remove from heat – stir in heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with Baking Powder Biscuits or Crispy Gouda Herb Cornmeal Muffins

Yam Chipotle Chowder

  • 5 medium yams, peeled and cubed
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chipotle pepper, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers)
  • 1/2 – 1 lime, juice and zest of
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • GARNISH – crispy bacon bits and thinly sliced green onion

Put yams and enough stock to cover in saucepan.  Boil until yams are soft, about 1/2 an hour.

Heat oil in sauce pan, saute onion, garlic, chipotle and red pepper until tender – set aside.

Remove 1 cup of chopped yams and set aside.

Puree the rest of the yams and stock together until smooth  – either with an immersion blender or in a traditional blender – (remembering to leave the lid ajar to let steam escape!).

Return to saucepan, add onion/red pepper mixture, the corn and the cubed yams.

Add juice and zest of lime – start with 1/2 the juice, and season with salt and pepper.

If it is too thick, add a bit more stock.