Jan 24, 2014

improving borscht

The other day, we made borscht. Well, beet soup, really, as "borscht" has a certain charm that "beet soup" just doesn't merit. Our beet soup may have had flavor, but it had no class.

We used Slate's "You're Doing it Wrong" recipe, which is fine, especially the lemon juice part, although it takes longer to cook the beets to puree-able softness than L.V. Anderson (no relation) lets on.

The real secret to delicious beet soup: let it sit a day in the fridge after cooking. Lazy flavors taste better on the palate. Cheese, aged beef, wine, borscht, all the foods that lounge on the sofa and won't even get up to find the remote so they're watching infomercials at three in the afternoon, not even Judge Judy. Sloth makes taste.

(Don't eat sloths. Wrong noun.)

Since L.V. Anderson could improve beet soup through good old fashioned gumption, I figured this Anderson (no relation) could do the same. So I grabbed an armful of spices from the cupboard and sauces from the refrigerator, donned a hazmat suit, and got to work.

Here are the tasting notes. In all cases, I added a dash or a drop to a tablespoon of otherwise unadulterated soup.

Sriracha ("Rooster Sauce")
Do you like spicy beets? You could probably learn to like spicy beets. They taste like regular beets, only spicy.

"Tastes like fall." Serve with turkey and deep-fried political angst. See also: Parsley.

Soy Sauce
Accentuates the potatoes, says Stef. I notice extra savor, but little more. Should beet soup have extra savor?

A warmer, smokier spiciness. Not bad, but not exactly delicious.

Little difference in flavor, but I'm just proud of the fact that I can type "Worcestershire" without having to check the label, and that I can pronounce "Worcestershire" properly, as I am a chimney sweep.

A1 Steak Sauce
It is impossible to tell when A1 Steak Sauce has gone bad. Pass.

Beets taste beetier with nutmeg.

Mustard Powder
Gives borscht a fruitier complexion. I'm not sure why I included mustard powder in the tasting; it's not really a reach-for spice in the Anderson house.

Spicy, of course, and bright and zesty and prone to bust out an accordion.

Not good.

Tapatio, Soy Sauce, and Pumpkin Pie Spice
A bonfire by piles of fallen leaves. Hot cocoa. Brisk mornings and first frosts. Football on the television. None of this has anything to do with beet soup. All of this has everything to do with beet soup flavored with smoke, salt, and love.

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