Red Barszcz (Czerwony Barszcz Wigilijny)

Barszcz, borscht, borshch, are all names for beautiful beet-based soups of Eastern European origin. Beyond beets, there are few similarities between barszcz recipes from country to country, region to region and family to family. Many people typically think of a Ukrainian variety (barszcz ukraiński), filled with chunks of vegetables, and some with meat. There’s also chłodnik, a refreshing cold beet summer soup that is served with sour cream or buttermilk.

This barszcz is more of a broth, with small bits of grated beets on the bottom and is the variety that is always served for Wigilia, or Christmas Eve. This soup is usually paired with small mushroom dumplings.

Many other Christmas Eve barszcz recipes yield a sweet flavor. I don’t know if this is a regional variation or simply a family variation, but I did not grow up eating barszcz with any sugar or sweetness beyond what came from the beets themselves. To each their own! Continue reading

Lentil Soup

Have you ever neglected to go grocery shopping for a while, looked in your kitchen and wondered what on earth you were going to cook? Well if that happens, chances are that you have at least 75% of the ingredients necessary to make this dish.

Flavorful, economical, and easy, this is a great soup to make on a Sunday and bring to work, or have ready for dinner for a few days when your day is over. If you don’t have all of the spices, don’t worry! Soups are rarely a perfect science, so just omit it if you don’t have it! Continue reading

Leczo Inspired Pepper Stew

Leczo is a bell pepper stew that originally hails from Hungary (where it is spelled lecso). At some point, variations made their way through the region and over to Poland. This is NOT a recipe for an authentic Hungarian Lecso, but it does contain some of the necessary fundamentals: peppers, onion, tomato, and paprika. The end result is still delicious and can be a vegetarian stew/ragout used to top something like rice or buckwheat, or it can include kielbasa or other meat to make it a heartier standalone stew. Or it can just be a great side. This recipe is also much thicker than a lot of other leczo recipes out there, but you can obviously combine elements of all and adjust based on your preferences. 🙂 Continue reading

Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup

After going mushroom picking with my family, my great aunt made the most incredible mushroom soup. It smelled so warm and earthy and completely transformed mushroom soup for me! This is my attempt to recreate that meal and bring back some memories while utilizing some of those wild forest mushrooms.  Dried porcini mushrooms (or any dried wild mushrooms) that you find in most grocery stores have a deep, earthy flavor and should be the star of this dish.  You don’t need much to enhance the flavor!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package crimini mushrooms
  • 1 package white mushrooms
  • Small handful of dried mushrooms

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