Once my garden produces an abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables, the time is right to cook Botvinka. Soups are very popular in Eastern Europe, and are the first course of a lunch of dinner meal, just like tossed salads in the US.
The name for this soup derives from the description of the tops (botvinka – leaves and stalks) of very young red beet plants, which are the major ingredient in this soup. This dish is full of goodness of fresh, young, green leafy vegetables, and because they are so tender, they require very short cooking time.
If you like tangy flavored soups, you will love Sorrel Borscht (Shchav). My first experience with tasting this dish was in a Polish restaurant, while visiting my family in Poland. My husband really liked the slightly tangy taste of this soup, so I have been preparing it during the sorrel growing season. The main ingredient is sorrel, of course, a simple herb but not easily found in a grocery store, but rather in a specialty food shop, or a garden (your own or your friend’s).
You can find a ready made Shchav, in the Kosher section at your favorite grocery store, but it’s taste does not measure up to the fresh, home made version. Once you make it at home, you most likely will never want to buy it pre-made.