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This Jan. 6, 2014 photo shows sausage borscht in Concord, N.H. This classic dish from Russia and much of Eastern Europe not only is a great way to eat a ton of vegetables, it also can be incredibly delicious. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Think Sochi Olympics, eat fast and easy borscht
First Published Feb 05 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Feb 18 2014 02:26 pm

Borscht is woefully underappreciated in America. This classic dish from Russia (and much of Eastern Europe, in fact) not only is a great way to eat a ton of vegetables, it also can be incredibly delicious.

But it generally has a bad reputation. People think of it as a cold, stringy and mostly bland soup. While it can be served cold, that’s by no means the rule. And as for the stringy and bland part, no way. Borscht can get a stringy or mushy texture if it’s overcooked. But so can pasta, so it’s really just a matter of paying attention.

At a glance

Sausage borscht

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 pound loose spicy pork sausage meat

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon dill seeds

1 quart beef stock

Three 15-ounce cans beets, drained

Salt and ground black pepper

Chopped fresh dill, to serve

Sour cream, to serve

In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat oil. Add onion and cook until just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add fennel and dill seeds and cook for another 30 seconds. Add stock and bring to a simmer.

While stock heats, fit a food processor with the large grating attachment.

Grate the beets. Add beets and any liquid in the processor to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with sour cream and dill.

Servings » 4

Nutrition information » 320 calories per serings; 180 calories from fat (56 percent of total calories); 20 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 70 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 16 g protein; 1180 mg sodium.

Source: The Associated Press

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And if you’ve had a bland borscht, you just haven’t had a good one. The key is to start it off right — a nicely sauteed onion and spicy pork sausage. They add tons of flavor and a great hit of protein that makes this a substantial soup that can stand in as full meal. Dill and fennel seeds also amp the flavor. Round it out with fresh dill and sour cream, and you’ll learn to love borscht as an easy weeknight meal.




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