Recipe: Mushroom Borsht
Do you love soup? Do you love vegetables, especially mushrooms? Do you love the extra richness of heavy cream and egg? Do you love the distinct sourness of fermented foods, but are looking for a new fermented dish to try? Then you should try this recipe! It comes from from an area in my home country, Romania, that still preserves old traditions and real, unaltered food.
The recipe contains a traditional fermented liquid named “borsht” that is made with fermented wheat germ and cornmeal. It is commonly added to rich meat and vegetable soups and it has a very distinct and tasty flavor, similar to fermented vegetables. Some people just drink it the way it is, since it’s rich in beneficial probiotics.
Please note that all ingredients in the following recipes should be organic, real, unaltered… the way Nature intended.
2 Lb mushrooms, preferably chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, orange agarics or any other good quality mushroom you can find
1 parsley root
1 small celery root
1 bell pepper
Approx. 16oz meat stock
Approx. 1 quart fresh borsht (recipe follows)
Salt, pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch of lovage or other fresh herbs like dill and parsley
1/2 Lb maize (corn meal)
1/2 Lb wheat germ
A few slices of dry black whole bread (like rye)
A good handful of either: sour cherry leaves, lovage leaves or celery leaves (leaves aren’t necessary, but add nice flavor)
To make the Borsht:
Place all ingredients except bread in a stoneware or wooden jar/container. Pour approx. 1 quart of cold water over and stir with a wooden spoon. Leave it at room temperature for about 4 hours for the starch in grains to dissolve.
Add approx. 5 quarts of hot water (not boiling) to the mixture. Add the bread as well. Place the container in a warm spot (at approx. 70 degrees F) and stir it around 10 times a day to speed up the fermentation process.
After 5 days the “borsht” will become clear and separate into a liquid part and the grain mixture at the bottom. Strain through a double cheesecloth or a fine strain. The liquid is the sour borsht that can be consumed raw or added to the soups at the end of cooking.
The remaining grains can be re-used following the same process. The next borsht will be ready in about 8 – 10 days.
For the Mushroom Borsht:
Chop or grate the vegetables, bring them to boil in the meat stock and 1 1/2 quarts of salted water for half an hour.
Wash the mushrooms well, cut them into thin slices, and place them with the vegetables to simmer for another half an hour.
Start to boil the borsht and when it starts bubbling, pour it over the mushrooms and vegetables.
Beat the egg and cream in a separate bowl and add pepper. Add a little soup to the mixture and then pour it back to the soup pot when soup has reduced by about a quart or more.
Chop the lovage and garnish. (Don’t add lovage to the soup when it’s still boiling, it might make it bitter.)
For more traditional, real food recipes, visit my website Guide2Health.net and download my free recipe e-book from the home page!
These recipes were adapted from a traditional Romanian cookbook by Radu Anton Roman, to which personal experience and other specific resources have been added.
Photo Credit: Raluca Schachter
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