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A fine northern soup

 
pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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In our region, an ethnic group called the Doukhobours moved in during the 1920s & '30s.  They were a pacifist agricultural group from Russia who were fed-up with being drafted into the Tsar's armies, and they began immigrating to Canada before World War One.  As they had always lived and raised food in a northern region of the world, they were comfortable relocating to Canada more or less along the southern border.  Hence this borscht recipe, shared with my wife by a Doukhobour woman, is well suited to making use of ingredients that are commonly grown in more northerly climates with somewhat short growing seasons.

Our benefactor was from the segment of the Doukhobour people that is vegetarian, and so is the recipe as given below — though not all of the Doukhobours are, and hence there is no reason (even in tradition) to refrain from adding meat or meat stock.

Full disclosure... The recipe as I'm giving it is a result of some experimentation, and inevitably is a slight drift from the original that we were given.  And it goes without saying that if you want to make more soup you just scale-up the ingredients, and that works fine...

Ingredients you'll need:

1 litre (or quart) home-canned in their juice or equivalent of tomatoes.  Stick a knife in and dice them, or blend.
3 largish potatoes, peeled & diced
½ head of green cabbage, knife-shaved or “shredded”
Approx 2 litres water - this may consist (up to 1/3) of soup stock on-hand
3 large onions, diced medium-small
2 largish stalks of celery, diced fine
1 large beet, diced fine or blended with the tomatoes
1 large carrot, diced
1-1/2 cup of whole milk (or 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream)
Cooking oil
Butter
1-2 tablespoons of finely-chopped dill
Salt
Milk or cream

Into a soup pot of at least 3-litre capacity, put the litre of tomatoes with their water and add water, or water/soup-stock combination.  (I bring the liquid to within an inch-and-a-half of the pot's rim.)  Add the diced potatoes, beet, and carrot.  Heat just under boiling level.

Take a large skillet, heat it on the stove, coat the bottom with cooking oil (and add butter if you like – using your own discretion), and introduce the diced onions and celery.  Stir and sautée these thoroughly, then add them into the soup.

Add the milk and/or cream and stir in.  (Traditional Doukhobour cooks tended to use pure cream.)  Add dill and stir in, preferably within a half hour of serving.

The aim is for a full-flavored, sweet & savory nourishing soup.  Experiment with this to get the soup to your liking.

 
Posts: 1629
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'm going to have to try this!
 
Joel Bercardin
pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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elle sagenev wrote:I'm going to have to try this!


Glad to hear it.

Looking at your climate-zone designation, it seems you may have a climate that is similar to southern Canada.  Is that part of the appeal of this recipe?

Oh, and I realize I should have added a tip... at least, this is what we do: put your diced potatoes into the tomato & water (& soup-stock perhaps) first, and after about 10 minutes, mash them in the liquid.  The role of the spuds, in good part, is to thicken the liquid.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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The last farm I lived on before buying my own land, was the former site of a Doukhobour colony. Old timers have stories about peering through the fence at school to watch them gardening (naked).

This group apparently really liked fires, as a means of freeing people from the shackles of materialism... it seems to have merged back into the main interior Doukhobour population after the death of the leader, while imprisoned for one of said helpful fires.

They seem to have been pretty committed people, I bet they made good borscht!
 
Joel Bercardin
pollinator
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Dillon Nichols wrote:The last farm I lived on before buying my own land, was the former site of a Doukhobour colony. Old timers have stories about peering through the fence at school to watch them gardening (naked).

This group apparently really liked fires, as a means of freeing people from the shackles of materialism... it seems to have merged back into the main interior Doukhobour population after the death of the leader, while imprisoned for one of said helpful fires.


Yes, you're referring to an extremist faction within the Doukhobour people, a sub-sect called the Sons of Freedom.  More than half a century ago, lurid stories (though based on fact) about this segment were spread widely by the media.  Unfortunately, many members of the Canadian public only remembered that group and that they had some connection with "the Doukhobours".  Times change.  I've met descendants of both the mainstream group and the Sons of Freedom, and usually found the ones I met to be likable and 'un-crazy'.

I don't want to get into that any further on this thread, but PM me if you want to discuss it more.
 
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That does look good. Will have to try that. Thanks.
 
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