Recipe for borscht with beet greens and cucumber

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Crunchy cucumbers and radishes, sweet beets, a dash of vinegar, and a touch of sugar add up to a refreshing soup that is as pretty to look at as it is good to eat. Leaves from newly harvested beets are fresh enough to chop, cook, and add to this lively soup.

4 beets (1 bunch), greens cut into ½-inch pieces, beets peeled
6 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
¾ cup tomato juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cucumber, peeled,
seeded, and cut into small dice
3 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

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1. Halve the beets if they are large. In a large saucepan, combine the beets, water, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and, if necessary, add more water to cover the beets. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a skewer. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a plate to cool; cool the cooking liquid. Cut the beets into small dice.

2. In a large bowl combine 3 cups of the beet cooking liquid with the tomato juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

3. In a skillet, bring ¼ inch salted water to a boil. Add the beet greens and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

4. Add the beets, beet greens, cucumber, and radishes to the beet liquid. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if you like. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

5. Ladle the soup into 4 bowls. Top each with sour cream and sprinkle with dill.
Sally Pasley Vargas