My Grandma NEVER used measuring cups, didn't even own any, and wouldn't write down her recipes or share them. Luckily I have a sneaky aunt who watched very carefully and managed to translate what she saw into a workable recipe.
Made up a batch of this last night for lunch today. It has the teenage son's approval, he ate it for breakfast after putting a quart in his lunch. Dh likes borscht from restaurants, so I'll have to see what he thinks about this. ( I wasn't about to get up before the crack of dawn to ask him this morning!)
Like my mother says it uses every pot in the house and it's so worth it. I was noticing that it is the ultimate local recipe, everything except the salt and pepper Grandma could source straight from the farm. Then I had a DUH! thought, of course these old family recipes were localvore recipes, that is all they had!!
Maybe next year I'll grow a borscht-bed, a raised bed devoted to these ingredients.
In a large pot put:
2 1/2 quarts water
5-6 peeled but whole potatoes
3 whole beets, fist sized, tops trimmed
Bring to a boil and cook til tender, about 30-40 minutes. Scoop out potatoes and mash with 2 pints (4cups) whipping cream. Remove beets and grate, tossing out some of the peel and the stem bit. Return to pot. (Don't toss the water!)
In a medium pot put:
2 quarts canned tomatoes, diced
4 Tbsp. butter
Heat to a boil and turn off.
In a really big pot (12-13 quart capacity) put:
Lots of butter
1 whole cabbage, shredded
4 carrots, grated
2 green peppers, diced
2-3 onions, diced
1 bunch celery, chopped
Once the vegetables are soft add the potato mix and the tomatoes. Then add:
Dill, lots, prefer fresh
and more butter
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to minimum and simmer.
To made this vegan, use margarine instead of butter, using as little as possible, and leave out the whipping cream. Not Grandma approved but it is still tasty.