Spring might not be a season many people associate with soup, but the following recipe for “Borscht with Crème Fraîche” from Laurey Masterton’s “The Fresh Honey Cookbook” (Storey) makes an ideal spring appetizer, even for those people who are not big on beets.
Borscht with Crème Fraîche
For the crème fraîche
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sour cream
For the borscht
1 bunch (1 pound) baby beets, with tops
1 pound new potatoes
1/2 cup honey, preferably avocado honey
Fresh dill for garnish (optional)
1. To make the crème fraîche, combine the heavy cream and sour cream in a jar. Shake thoroughly to mix and place in a warm pot overnight. Once the cream has thickened, refrigerate until ready to use. Crème fraîche will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.
2. Cut off the beet tops and chop them. Combine the beets, the chopped tops and the potatoes in a 6-quart soup pot and cover with about 2 quarts of cold water. (Don’t completely fill the pot; put in just enough water to cover the vegetables.) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the beets can be pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables.
3. Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with ice water. Remove the beets and the potatoes from the cooking liquid using a slotted spoon. Plunge the cooked beets into the ice-water bath and slip the skins off. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve or colander and into a bowl. Compost the beet skins and the cooked beet greens.
4. Grate or chop the beets and potatoes and return to the broth. Add the honey and season with salt to taste.
5. Serve hot with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche per serving. Add a sprinkle of fresh dill on top, if you like.