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CULINARY SOS

From Gorky's, Here's a Terrific Hot Borscht Soup to Warm the Heart

April 12, 1990|ROSE DOSTI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEAR SOS: Growing up in a terrific Polish family, I have fond memories of my Dad's hot borscht soup. Until now, I have searched in vain for a recipe that came close to his, but when I tried the concoction at Gorky's Russian Brewery I knew I had found my heaven. Please get Gorky's to part with the recipe for their potion.

--PHIL

DEAR PHIL: Chef Michael Friedman of Gorky's gladly provided it. This is a heart-warming soup to serve with hunks of crusty pumpernickel or rye bread. And keep it in mind for informal, serve-yourself entertaining.

GORKY'S BEET BORSCHT

2 pounds whole beets

14 cups water

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 can (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth plus 1 tablespoon salt or 4 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved with 1 cup hot water

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste

2 bay leaves

1 large onion, chopped

1 cabbage, cored and cut into 2x2-inch cubes

1 large Russet potato, peeled and cubed

Cut ends and stems of beets. Boil 20 minutes or until tender-crisp. To peel, rub with cloth while still warm and remove skins. Cut into 1/4-inch julienne pieces and set aside.

Place 14 cups water, vinegar, granulated and brown sugars, tomato paste, chicken broth, garlic, salt to taste, pepper and bay leaves in large kettle. Bring to boil. Skim off foam.

Add onion. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is transparent. Add cabbage. Cook 15 minutes longer. Add potato and cook another 15 minutes. Add beets, bring to boil. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: For thicker borscht, grate instead of julienne 1/2 pound cooked beets. Serve with pumpernickel bread and butter.

DEAR SOS: My mother has a great recipe for shrimp rolls but she refuses to part with it. Her appetizer is rolled jellyroll style with a cream cheese, shrimp and dill filling, then is iced with sour cream. Do you have anything that fits that description?

--CINDY

DEAR CINDY: You can make canape rolls for teas, baby showers or receptions by using thin white or wheat bread slices and the fillings listed below.

Flatten bread slices with a rolling pin. Add a desired filling and roll jellyroll fashion to form a cylinder. The rolls can be frosted with softened, seasoned cream cheese or sour cream, or left plain and tied with ribbon.

Otherwise, your best bet is to prepare Frosted Sandwich Loaf, which when sliced reveals multiple fillings.

FROSTED SANDWICH LOAF

1 day-old 12-inch unsliced loaf sandwich bread

Butter or margarine, softened

Shrimp Filling

Dill Filling

Cheese Filling

Cream Cheese Frosting

Stuffed olives, pimiento and green pepper strips

Parsley, watercress or crisp lettuce leaves

Remove crusts from bread. Cut loaf lengthwise into 4 slices of equal thickness. Keep slices in order.

Place bottom slice on serving platter. Spread with softened butter, then with Shrimp Filling. Butter both sides of next slice and press in place over bottom slice. Spread with Dill Filling.

Butter both sides of third slice, press in place and spread with Cheese Filling. Butter bottom of top slice and press in position.

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting over top and sides of loaf. If desired, decorate top of loaf with slices of stuffed olive, strips of pimiento, green pepper and other greens. Chill several hours.

Before serving garnish platter with parsley, watercress or crisp lettuce. Cut loaf into crosswise slices to serve. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Shrimp Filling

1 (4 1/2-ounce) can shrimp

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

Mayonnaise

Drain and chop shrimp, if necessary. Mix with celery and enough mayonnaise to moisten.

Dill Filling

2 medium tomatoes

Mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Salt, pepper

Peel tomatoes and slice crosswise in very thin slices. Spread bread slice with mayonnaise.

Arrange tomato slices on bread, then sprinkle with dill and salt and pepper to taste.

Cheese Filling

4 hard-cooked eggs

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened or cottage cheese

Mayonnaise

Salt, pepper

Chop eggs and mix with cream cheese, enough mayonnaise to moisten and salt and pepper to taste.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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