January 25, 2013

Cook your CSA: Borscht Recipe


I love Beets! Lots of people say they hate beets. I wonder why. I suspect it’s because I didn’t grow up eating them, and had never had them canned. I’m guessing lots of people have only known them from a can. Lucia used to hate beets, now at least likes them a little. If you’ve been participating in Clover’s CSA program, you’ve been getting red beets from Winter Moon Roots.

So we thought we’d share our recipe for Borscht. We get tons of feedback at Clover and I’m not sure if any other item we serve gets more of a personal reaction from customers than the Borscht. Mostly they’re excited to hear we have Borscht and then after they see it, they say something like, “That’s not Borscht!” I get it. It’s a very personal thing for them. It has deep connections to culture (parents, grandparents, country, etc.). Borscht is a beet soup from Central and Eastern Europe, served cold or hot, with beef or vegetable stock, blended or chunky, often times with sour cream and dill. There are countless variations (and countless spellings) throughout these countries.

So what I did with the idea of making a Borscht recipe was to take the major ingredients that make Borscht unique and then plugged them into the framework of Clover’s soup program. Ayr made sure I included caraway and red cabbage. So we use traditional ingredients, in a way that they fit our operational/recipe/service systems. If you’re not so sure about beets or borscht, you should at least give them a shot, then let us know what you think. (I witnessed Lucia eat an entire cup of this stuff yesterday).

Borscht – Serves 6


2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. caraway seed, whole
2 medium red onion
1 clove garlic
1 medium carrot
2 stalk celery
¼ – ½ head red cabbage
1 each bay leaf
½ cup red wine
10 sprigs parsley, with stem
5 sprigs thyme, picked
2 large red beets
1 medium potato
1 ½ quart vegetable stock
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
to taste salt

12 sprigs dill, fresh
2 oz. sour cream

Cooking Method:
Wash carrots, red cabbage, celery, red beets, potato, parsley and dill.
Peel, then cut onion into medium dice.  Peel, then mince the garlic.
Heat a soup pot over medium-low heat.
Add vegetable oil and caraway seeds and allow to toast till fragrant, about 3 minutes.
In the meantime, trim and small dice carrot and celery (optional step – I pick the celery leaves and combine with parsley to chop). Reserve.
Turn heat up to medium, add onion and garlic, then saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until lightly caramelized.
Cut cabbage section lengthwise into 1-inch thick pieces.  Then cross-cut (widthwise) those pieces into very thin slices (should end up with about thin strips of cabbage about 1-inch long).
Add carrots, celery, cabbage and bay leaf, then saute, about 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Add red wine & simmer until wine is evaporated, about 5 – 10 minutes.  (If not ready to move on, turn burner off.)
Small chop the parsley, celery leaves, and thyme.  Reserve.
Medium dice the beets and potatoes.  Reserve.
Turn the pot to high, then add chopped herbs, beets, potato and vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 35 – 45 minutes, until the beets are tender.
Season with sugar, vinegar and salt to taste.
Taste and adjust seasonings.

For Garnish:  Small chop the dill, then stir into the sour cream.
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped dill mixture.

****When serving, be sure to stir and scoop from the bottom, to evenly disperse the caraway with all of the portions.


Recent Posts

May 24, 2023
I recently learned that garlic has 4 stages that it goes through on its journey to become the cured stuff you’re probably used to seeing. This year I learned about Green Garlic. It’s the mild, sweet, un-cured bulb, plus the fresh green shoots. We got our hands on a super limited crop from Red Fire out in Granby, and so we decided to see if we could incorporate it into every single different type of box we make next week…
May 23, 2023
We’ve intentionally steered clear of bowls for a long time. If you see Ayr tomorrow, ask him why : ) Tomorrow (5/24) we’re starting a 2-week test of bowls at CloverNTV, our restaurant in Newtonville. If it goes well, this could represent the beginning of one of the bigger changes our menu has EVER seen. We’re hoping we’ve cracked the code to bowls that are seasonal, carefully-composed, easy to carry, and craveable – all the things we love about bowls, and none of the things we don’t.
May 18, 2023
I used to eat Cheesy Grits almost every morning, and if you were eating with us around 2017, I bet you did too. We took our Plimoth-ground-grits off the menu for a little while, but now they’re back at all locations (except for the HUB for the time being). Stop in for breakfast during the next 2 weeks – we’re aiming for these to be hot and ready at 8am and we’ll be selling them til they’re out. The staff has been waking up extra early and adding a lot of extra whisking to their mornings, so we’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve never had our Cheesy Grits before, here are some things you should know….
May 16, 2023
What is Chris eating? When we toured the field at Siena, the crew was planting dahlia tubers. They get planted in warm soil, will grow all summer and will be ready for harvest in the fall. They reminded us of sunchokes, so we got to talking about whether the tubers are edible and it turns out they are! Are they delicious?
May 15, 2023
Do you want a beautiful box of produce for a fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store? Do you want to invest in a farm’s success and be with them throughout the harvest season? Do you think you hate eggplants but you’ve just never had a good one? It might be time to look into a CSA (or farmshare).
May 5, 2023
I remember exactly the moment we started celebrating May the 4th (“May the Force” be with you). We were on a planning call about meal boxes and we were talking about how we were going to launch our Taco Tuesday program on Cinco de Mayo (May the 5th). Chris accidentally said “May the 4th” and Ayr said, “May the 4th! We should do a Star Wars Box!”
April 24, 2023
If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know we hate waste. Most of the time, minimizing waste is pretty unglamorous, but every once in a while our mission to reduce waste takes us to some very cool places. I look after Clover’s grocery marketplaces (including our Assembly Row grocery store). A few months ago I noticed that the marketplaces were going through a lot of our paper bags. They’re compostable, which is great. But I think the best bag is one you can use over and over again.
April 22, 2023
Few people know that Clover is environmental activism. This is by design.  And it works. We do these customer surveys and see that 9 out of 10 Clover customers are NOT vegetarian. Yet I’m constantly troubled by conflicting feelings about the approach we’ve taken.
April 10, 2023
Over the next 3 weeks, on a rolling schedule, most Clovers are going to be giving out a free hot or cold George Howell Montecarlos coffee to anyone who stops in between opening and 11 am. No strings— we just want to see you all and talk about coffee!! George Howell’s Montecarlos is a single-origin coffee we love for our pour-overs…
March 30, 2023
Each year, early spring is a busy time at the Clover kitchen because we have 2 of our tastiest boxes, usually back-to-back. For the Passover box, a lot of care goes into the kashering of the kitchen, with Rabbi Dolinger coming in to ensure the box is totally Kosher for Passover via Lighthouse Kosher.
March 15, 2023
That photo is corn fritters drizzled with maple syrup. We just started frying them up for a 2pm special – and they’re an element of our Maple Meal Box. If you head away from the city this time of year, you’ll see signs for sugar shacks, where maple sap gets boiled down into syrup and little restaurants pop up to serve pancakes, corn fritters, cider donuts, and dill pickles (to cut through the sweetness of the fresh syrup).
February 28, 2023
You’ve been asking! And finally we can announce: sunchokes are here, starting tomorrow, 3/1. Thanks to Pete’s Greens in VT for getting us local sunchokes. At breakfast we’ll be making The Sunchoke Truffle: fluffy house-baked pita, creamy truffled butter, caramelized onions, a 6.5 minute egg, and thin, crispy sunchoke slices. At lunch and dinner: The Sunchoke Mushroom: scallion-black-pepper mayo, fresh arugula, roasted crimini mushrooms, fried brined onions, and roasted sunchokes. But what IS a sunchoke?