Thursday, June 2, 2011

cook eat drink

Russian beet soup (Svekolnik) with garlic rye croutons
 Russian beet soup, made with the organic beets my husband grew on the roof

I'm Irina, a Russian living in Dublin, Ireland, and the proprietor of Kaftansarafan. Russian cuisine has become a wonderful mix of cuisines from all the different countries that were part of the Soviet Union. And Russians have embraced many favorite ‘foreign’ dishes as our own. Here's one my favorites, a lighter, summery version of Ukranian borsch. Serve it hot or cold, as a refreshing appetizer in summer or a great, healthy lunch — either way, it's delicious (and works in winter too).  It's full of vitamins, and great for digestion. 

Our beets
(serves 3-4)

for the soup
3 small beets and some beet stalks and leaves
handful of chopped fresh parsley
handful of chopped fresh dill
olive oil
1 carrot, diced fine or grated
Russian beet soup (Svekolnik) with garlic rye croutons
1 small onion, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and pepper
about 1/2 cup of crème fraiche

 for the garlic rye croutons
4-5 slices of rye bread, thickly sliced
2 cloves crushed fresh garlic

Peel and halve the beets. Chop the beet stalks and leaves.
Boil until the beets soft in a large pot, for about 45 minutes. Halfway through, add the chopped stalks and leaves. When the beets are soft, take them out to cool, reserving the water they cooked in, then cut  into narrow strips or small cubes.

Saute the onion, carrot and garlic together in olive oil in a second large pot until soft and slightly brown. Add the beets and the beet water. Add half of the dill and parsley, salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes to allow the soup to heat through.

If serving chilled, refrigerate 2-3 hours or until cool.

Garlic rye ready for toasting
To make the croutons, spread the crushed garlic on the slices of rye, cut the bread into cubes, and toast until browned.

Hot or cold, serve with a dollop of crème fraiche, the rest of the herbs, and a sprinkle of croutons. Delicious!


  1. this sounds so good I can't wait to try it. and it's great to see photos of the beets from farm -- or roof! -- to table.

    thanks for taking the time to write it all out!


  2. this looks amazing! I can't wait to try it!

  3. Wow! This looks great! Your beets look amazing too.