Our first adventure into the wonderful world of International Pressure Cooking will be the lovely country of Russia. And one of the most popular and well known dishes from Russia is the delicious hot soup called Borscht. For a more detail and in depth look at the origins of Borscht, click here.
My boyfriend is Russian. Born in Moscow and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 3 years old. He was raised by his grandparents in Los Angeles in a small Russian community. So he was raised eating all kinds of wonderful Russian home-cooked meals made by his Busichka (Grandmother). I won’t even bother trying to compete with her cooking because I will never win. I just take the recipes she provides and tweak them so it becomes my own version. And if my boyfriend doesn’t like it, he can go hungry! HAHA Just kidding…..or am I really?
Traditional Borscht is always made with red beets. That is always the main ingredient that never changes. The red beets are what give this soup its dark reddish fuchsia jewel tone color. And when you serve it with a dollop of sour cream and mix it in, the soup becomes bright pink! It’s quite fun to watch it change colors.
Well, guess what. I totally succeeded in making my borscht taste wonderful and even my boyfriend liked it and enjoyed it. But I failed at keeping that red color. I’m not afraid of admitting my mistakes. My borscht was a dark orangey-red-brown color and the beets completely lost their red tone and was pretty much light brown. I did some research on Google and found out that you shouldn’t boil the beets, it causes them to lose their color. DOH! The soup usually need to be cooked on the stove and simmered on medium or low heat for close to 2 hours. But since I used my trusty Peggy, I only cooked it for 30-minutes.
So now what? Well, never fear, I think I have come up with a solution to fix the color problem, so you can have both the flavor and color still when making this recipe for your friends and family. See the end of the post for the solution.
(Again, I apologize for my photos. It’s been raining non-stop all week. No natural light in sight for days! And I didn’t have all my ingredients until almost 4pm. I know, I know, it’s becoming a bad habit.)
Prepare all your ingredients. Chop the vegetables into bite sizes. Even chop up the stew meat if the chunks are too big. (Make sure you prepare the beets if you have to on a glass plate or something. Don’t use a wood chopping board. It will stain like bloody murder!)
While the contents are still hot. Add salt and pepper to taste; then add the ketchup and stir thoroughly. Leave the lid open and let it stand for about 10-minutes.
This is probably about the time you’re thinking to yourself, the soup is orangy brown. How can you fix or save it? Well, my solution is not a 100% fixer, but adding a few drops of red food coloring sort of did the trick for me. :P I am such a cheater!!!
Another fix that might to do the trick is to use beet juice as well. You can save a couple of beets and puree it in a food processor and add it into the soup at the end while it’s hot. I didn’t try this one but I’ll make sure to test it out next time.