The first beets are ready in the garden and last night I cooked a goose that had plenty of leftovers. So what was for lunch today? Borscht.
I have loved borscht since I went to the Brezhnev-period Soviet Union on a school trip in 1981. It was a staple in the restaurants of all the hotels that we stayed – each recipe a little different, each one filling and warming and just wonderful.
When Leo was born, a lovely Ukrainian woman called Tania was doing my cleaning. She made me some wonderfully restorative borscht – and even better, taught me how to make my own. Except in the summer months, when beets cannot grow here, I make it throughout the year.
First I picked everything off the goose carcass, put the bones in a pan of water, and made some rich stock. Then I fried an onion and garlic in a spoonful of goosefat, added a couple of chopped beets, a chopped potato, a chopped red pepper, and a chopped carrot and let them all sweat a little. Three hundred or so millilitres of chopped tomato that I had frozen earlier this summer followed, along with the goose stock, the carcass pickings, and the finely chopped beet leaves. I simmered it for about twenty minutes, then served myself a big bowl complete with a spoonful of sour cream. Delightful. It could have used some dill, but I didn’t have any.
My children turned their noses up at it, silly darlings. So I enjoyed it all by myself.