Friday, August 15, 2008

Cranberry Soup Peasant Style (Broosnika Soop po Derevensky)

Oh, this little gem from Nothing Beets Borscht is going to be filed away for Thanksgiving dinner, you can bet...
Cranberry Soup Peasant Style
(Broosnika Soop po Derevensky)

This soup is a refreshing, tart -- but not too tart -- hot soup. It needs only 1 tablespoon of sugar, and even that can be omitted, making this one of the few low-calorie Russian dishes.

1 cup raw cranberries
4 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup beet juice and 1 cup canned diced beets, or 1 cup fresh diced beets

Garnish: sour cream (buy an 8-ounce container)

Wash the cranberries, and then put them in a pot with the 4 cups of water. Let the cranberries simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Then take a wooden spoon and mush up the cranberries.

Add the raw, chopped onions and shredded cabbage to the pot. Season with the salt, the sugar, and then pepper to taste. If using fresh beets, add them now. Let simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, or until the beets are just tender enough to be easily pierced by a fork or knife.

The soup can be refrigerated at this point until ready to heat up and serve.

If using canned beets, add them to the pot along with their 1/2 cup of liquid when you are heating the soup up just before serving.

Serve the cranberry soup piping hot with a dollop of sour cream floating in each bowl.

This soup subverts many of my soup-making expectations. First, you don't cook the onion before adding it to the soup. ...wait, really? Yes. You don't. As much as it pains me to say, being the kind of person who automatically adds oil to the pot, and starts the root veg long before any liquid is going in.

Also, that cranberry's got to be a DOMINANT flavor; there's only a cup of 'em, but they get star billing, even though there's more onion and cabbage, and equal amounts of beets.

I wonder how this would be cold. I wonder how this would be with more cranberries. I wonder how this would be if you let it go a little longer at a higher boil and ended up with a partially gelatinous soup...

I will find out, come this Thanksgiving, if not sooner.

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