Aunt Eloise's Borscht
4 Medium potatoes -- cubed
4 Tbsp. margarine
1 Medium onion -- shredded
1 Tin tomatoes -- small, chopped
2 Large beets (or 3 small)
1/2 Small cabbage -- finely shredded
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley -- minced
1/2 Tsp. dried basil -- Rubbed To Powder
1/2 Tsp. Dried Oregano -- Rubbed To Powder
3 Sour Leaves Or Juice Of 1/2 Lemon -- * See Note
* Sour leaves are interchangeable with sorrel leaves.
Put the cubed potatoes into 3 litres (12 cups) of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Melt the margarine in a frying pan and saut_ the onion until it is brown. Add the tomatoes.
Cook the beets, peel and then julienne. (Leave the root and 2-3" of stem on the beets or the color will 'bleed' from the beets before they get into your borscht.)
Add to potatoes and bring to a boil.
Add tomatoes and onions to the potatoes and beets and simmer. Add cabbage. Add the parsley, basil, oregano and sour leaves or lemon juice.
Options: Simmer pork bones in water, remove bones and scum, add potatoes and beets. Add garlic to tomato/onion. Add lentils or small navy beans - can be added the second day.
Serve hot or cold with sour cream.
Aunty Eloise says that there are many different kinds of borscht. You make lighter ones in the summer and richer heavier ones in the winter. Once, while on vacation in Los Angeles, I was talking about borscht to a nice American lady of German descent. She said that her family's borscht didn't use any beets or sour leaves but that it did use sour salt. I had never seen or heard of such a thing but when I searched a local (LA) supermarket I had no trouble finding it. However, since then, I have not seen that ingredient in a local (MA) store or seen a recipe using it.