Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sesame Mushroom... Borscht ?!

Aw, this picture does not do this soup justice.  But... that's sort of to be expected!  For this is a stealthy soup, my friends.  I was inspired by the fusion of the ginger-scallion latkes to make a similarly-spun borscht.  And while it looks like pure beetiness, the flavors are not exactly what you'd expect.  Now, Mark Bittman has a recipe for a borscht that includes mushrooms, but his is still firmly in the Eastern European idiom.  I pushed a bit further, eschewing dill for garlic, tamari, and toasted sesame oil.  It is awesome.  It's like the apotheosis of umami. much so, that I found myself wondering if it might be improved by a bit of rice vinegar or lemon juice to balance it out.

Update: Yes!  A sprinkle of seasoned rice vinegar made it taste better!

Sesame Mushroom Borscht

canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 c mushrooms, sliced or coarsely chopped
splash tamari
1 large potato, peeled, large dice
4 small beets (or 3 large), peeled and large-diced/quartered
?4 c water and/or stock
small drizzle toasted sesame oil

1. In a large saucepan or stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook several minutes, then add mushrooms and continue cooking until everything is soft and fragrant.  Deglaze with a splash of tamari, then add potato, beets, and water/stock.  Bring to a boil, then cook about 30 minutes or until vegetables are quite soft.  Add salt if needed (keep in mind you've already used tamari and stock).
2. If desired, allow soup to cool, then puree and bring back to warm temp.
3. In any case, serve soup warm with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
Serves 4-6.

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