A broth of beet is beneficial for the heart and good for the eyes, and needless to say for the bowels.... This is only if it is left on the stove till it goes tuk, tuk.
—BABYLONIAN TALMUD: BERAKOT 39A
The lovely caterer Arlette Lustyk shared the recipe for this simple delicious soup with me in her Paris office while my husband and daughter entertained themselves poring over photographs of the giant challahs that line the tables at her fabulous weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Madame Lustyk and her husband,
To draw out all the fresh beet essence for the soup, the raw beets are soaked first in cold water for several hours or overnight, then slow-simmered in the liquid. The resulting borscht (the catchall Yiddish name for soups containing the ubiquitous beet) is more deeply flavorful than most meatless beet broths. I find that the plain borscht, without eggs or cream, also doubles quite successfully as an easily prepared rosl, a fermented beet juice, to be used for braising (see Beet-Braised Pot Roast).
© 2000 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.