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New England Borsch

Servings 6 People

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbls of butter
  • 2 shallots peeled and finely minced
  • 3 cups of fresh fiddleheads* 700 ml
  • 2 bunches of spring ramps wild garlic
  • 4 in stalks of celery with leaves removed cuta small dice.
  • 4 cups of Brussels sprouts peeled and shredded, 1 liter
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus peeled with woody ends snapped off.
  • 1 cup of rasol’ pickle juice
  • 1/2 cup pickled cocktail onions
  • 1/2 cup of fresh dill chopped - reserve the stems
  • 1/2 cup of flat Italian parsley - reserve the stems
  • Juice and zest of one fresh lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Optional: This is a great vegetarian soup, but for those who like a little meat, the following additions add a nice extra flavor layer

  • 1 pound of smoked ham sliced into matchsticks (any smoked meat will do here, including bacon, pancetta, or garlic sausage.), 500 grams

To Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Chives
  • Fresh pea shoots

Instructions

Prepare the broth:

  • Remove the asparagus tips from the peeled stems. Chop the stems into small coins and place them in a large soup pot with the stock, lemon zest, parsley and dill stems, a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, drain, then set aside. This can be done in advance.

Prep the Vegetables

  • Prepare the fiddleheads according to instructions above. Prepare the ramps by removing the bulbous end from the leaves. Slice the leaves into a chiffonade. Reserve both.

Assemble the Borsch

  • Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot until bubbling. Add the minced shallots and sweat until they are limp. Add the ramp bulbs and sauté for 2 minutes. Add celery stalks and sauté for 2 more minutes. Then add the washed and blanched fiddleheads and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the stock into the pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add the sliced ham, cocktail onions, rasol’, shredded Brussels sprouts, and ramp leaves. Lower the heat, and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Just before you are ready to serve, add the fresh lemon juice, celery leaves, and chopped parsley and dill. Garnish with sour cream, fresh chives, and young pea shoots.

Notes

An Important Note on Fiddleheads: Fiddleheads are one of those fleeting vegetables punctuate the spring in New England. They taste like a cross between asparagus and broccoli and are delightful on their own or in a dish such as this. However, they must be cooked, or they are poisonous. To cook fiddleheads, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. While the water is boiling, rinse the fiddleheads thoroughly in cold water, removing their slippery, papery coverings. Plunge the fiddleheads into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse again with cold water.