Borscht with sterlet
Borscht with sterlet, fish soup without fish, soup with flour: how the recipes of famous Russian soups changed.
Food of the Russian tsars.
It is hardly possible to find a country in whose national cuisine soups occupy as important a place as in Russia. Of course, everything can be attributed to the climate: in Russia, most of the year is cold, so you can not do without soup here. But in old cookbooks, entire sections are devoted to variations of summer beetroot, botvinya, okroshka, sweet dessert soups with milk, cream, fruit and berries. Soups are often called the food of the poor, but this is not the case at all: they were on the everyday table of nobles, kings, and emperors. For example, Alexander I was very fond of cold botvinya.
“Its recipe was simple, but it required an abundance of fish,” says Yulia Uvarova, a historian and author of popular publications of the Moscow Kremlin Museums about court festivities. – Boiled fish of the best varieties, beet tops, cucumbers, sometimes onions were put in a plate, all this was mixed with crushed ice and poured with unsweetened spicy kvass. They were supplemented with cleaned cancer necks and slices of Ural balyk, which were served on a separate plate as a side dish.”
Nicholas I, Alexander III and the son of Nicholas II, Tsarevich Alexei, preferred soup to other soups.
In the XVIII century, French cuisine appeared on the table of Russian aristocrats: in fact, the word “soup” came to us from the French language. There were popular soups-puree, the invention of French cooks-consomme-a rich strong broth with the addition of many spices and lightly seasoned with vegetables. Such soups, as a rule, were included in the menu of official feasts.
“The most exotic of the foreign soups known in Russia was tortoiseshell soup, or tortu, its authors were considered English. Since the invention of canned food by Francois Appert in 1804, it has become possible to deliver an exotic product to any country in the world. In Russian aristocratic circles, English canned turtle soup as an expensive delicacy from London was served at gastronomic dinners, ” says Yulia Uvarova.
Nevertheless, Russian traditional soups were also included in the menu at ceremonial receptions, as evidenced by documents stored in the Museums of the Moscow Kremlin. In the menu of coronation dinners of Russian emperors in the XIX century were borscht, soup from crayfish, broth from grouse. But soup was not served at formal receptions — this soup was considered an everyday meal.
A wide variety of soups distinguishes all the cookbooks of the XIX — early XX centuries:” Russian cookery ” by Vasily Levshin (Pushkin mentions him in the novel “Eugene Onegin”),” Cook Notes “by Sergei Drukovtsev,” A Gift to a young hostess ” by Elena Molokhovets. Soups were loved in the family of Leo Tolstoy — in the cookbook of his wife, Sofia Andreevna Tolstoy, there are several dozen of them listed.
The most popular cookbook was considered a collection of recipes of Russian cuisine by the housewife and mother of many children Elena Molokhovets: it was released in a huge circulation for illiterate Russia and was reprinted more than 30 times. In 1932, Yevgeny Zamyatin, who fled the USSR, noted in his notes: “There are two most popular authors in emigration: Elena Molokhovets is in the first place, and Pushkin is in the second.”
Soup, borscht, fish soup — not what you think.
Today we mean by borscht soup with beetroot, by fish soup-fish soup, and by cabbage soup-soup, which must include cabbage. In fact, these dishes acquired such features less than two centuries ago.
Until the XVIII century, hot first courses were not called soups, but were divided into several categories: soup, ear and ear.
“Fish soup was called not only fish soup, but also all other soups, they were filled with different vegetables, cereals or noodles, without using, of course, potatoes,” says historian Yulia Uvarova. – Meat broth was prepared from different types of meat and poultry, for example, there was a chicken ear cooked in chicken broth. Fish soups could be a festive and everyday dish, depending on the fish from which they were cooked. The ceremonial dish was considered to be saffron pike ear or sterlet ear. At the embassy feasts, fish soup was served karasevaya and linevaya.”
And the ear was called a dish that today would be described as a stew: a thick stew of meat, fish, vegetables in their own juice, often under the” ear ” of dough.
In the XVIII century and earlier, borscht was called soup, the main component of which was the grass borscht (has nothing to do with the poisonous weed common today in Russia).
“Borscht could be called different soups,” says Maxim Syrnikov, a historian of Russian cuisine. – It was made both lean and fast, and on fish broth, added carp, sterlet.”
Beetroot appeared in this dish only in the middle of the XVIII century. But even in the recipes of Levshin and Molokhovets, there are recipes for borscht with fish.
“Previously, fish was in higher esteem in Russia than now, a huge number of first and second courses were prepared from it,” explains Maxim Syrnikov. — This was due not only to the high cost of meat: after all, the people were Orthodox, a good part of the days of the year were fast, and at this time it is forbidden to eat meat, but fish is allowed.”
One of their festive soups was considered bishop’s ear, it was prepared with sterlet, sturgeon on broth from a rooster. The popular ear was made of golovizna-that is, from the heads of sturgeon fish.
“In November and December, frozen beluga and sterlet heads were transported from the Lower Volga, from Astrakhan and Tsarinyn, by carts all over Russia,” says Maxim Syrnikov. — These heads were used to make an extremely delicious broth for chowder. They cooked fish soup and small fish snetka, made on this broth and cereal chowder, and borscht, and soup. Anna Petrovna Kern, to whom Pushkin dedicated the poem “I remember a wonderful moment”, wrote in her diary that she should have sent to Pskov for a snack, because she missed the soup with this fish. And she was a wealthy noblewoman.”
Cabbage soup was considered different soups made of vegetables, on lean, fish and meat broths. Sauerkraut and fresh cabbage became a mandatory component only in the XIX century. Soup was prepared from snyti, sorrel, nettle, turnip. And still in many regions sorrel soup is called salted cabbage soup. It is noteworthy that until the end of the XIX century, flour was added to soup.
“Soup was prepared with flour podboltka, and they were the most common everyday type of food, including on the royal table,” says historian Yulia Uvarova.
Brine soups, hookah — chowder based on pickles and pickles were also popular. There is also a pickle with pickles in old books. Sauerkraut, pickled, and salted vegetables were the basis of dozens of dishes in Russian cuisine: this method of cooking helped to preserve the products for a long time. For example, instead of lemon and tomatoes, borscht was acidified with kvass.
In Lent, they cooked pea soup, mushroom soup, and breadcrumbs-a soup based on breadcrumbs. All the inns served an old dish that is still popular today — solyanka, or, as it was also called, selyanka. It was of two types: in the form of soup and a second course served in a frying pan. They prepared a hodgepodge of sauerkraut with meat, with homemade smoked meats, ham, pork ribs, but sausages and sausage appeared in the hodgepodge already in Soviet times.
Pause for 70 years.
The first cookbooks published in the USSR after the October Revolution still contained traditional recipes, because among the authors were people who knew Russian cuisine well. But in the second half of the XX century, according to the historian Maxim Syrnikov, the recipes have changed a lot.
“The revolution greatly slowed down the development of Russian cuisine, although at the beginning of the XX century it was very rich, no worse than the French. The compilers of cookbooks in the 70s and 80s were already guided not by traditions, but by modern realities: how to offer people fish soup with sterlet or soup with meat, if there is a shortage in the country? If possible, such ingredients were replaced with available ones, and some ingredients were simply deleted. There are recipes for canned soups, for example, salmon soup, soups from concentrates.”
In the Soviet era, soups of many Soviet republics became popular: soups of Caucasian, Uzbek, and cuisine appeared in cookbooks. They were also prepared by the Kremlin chefs.
“Borscht and kharcho soup became common dishes, but during the celebrations, guests were offered only borscht from national soups,” says historian Yulia Uvarova.
It is known that Nikita Khrushchev was very fond of borscht. This soup, as it was centuries ago, was served at government dinners in the early 2000s.
Taste with benefits.
Nutritionists and gastroenterologists recommend to include soups in the menu as a therapeutic food. If you do not cook them on fat meat and bones, almost all Russian soups can be attributed to dietary food.
“The soup has a lot of water, healthy boiled vegetables, which have a low calorie content,” explains nutritionist, researcher at the “FITZ Nutrition and Biotechnology” Yulia Chehonina. – The soup quickly gives a feeling of satiety and is easily digested, it also has legumes, cereals, thanks to which you will not want to eat again an hour after lunch.”
The nutritionist advises cooking soups on the second broth to avoid getting too much fat into the dish: to do this, bring the meat to a boil, boil for five to ten minutes, drain the broth, pour the meat with clean water and cook the soup on it. But fresh sorrel and greens should not be subjected to prolonged heat treatment: they can be put in the ready-made soup after the fire is turned off.