Celebrate the Russian Olympics with Traditional Foods

February 07, 2014

Celebrating the Winter Olympics in Sochi? Russian cuisine is delicious...

What to eat to celebrate the Winter Olympics in Sochi? Well, when Americans think of Russian food, it's generally the cliches —borscht (beet soup), or blini, caviar-topped pancakes. And of course they imagine all meals washed down with vodka. This does hold some truth but the reality is, Russian cuisine is much broader, full of super-nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, a variety of dumplings, preserved (or pickled) vegetables, smoked and salted fish, and meats like wild game and crawfish.

And if you are planning on watching the Winter Olympic games, which are being held in Sochi, Russia this year, what better way to celebrate than with some traditional Russian cuisine.

You will definitely want to have Olivier, the Russian potato salad, named after the 19th-century Belgian chef who created it, at your Olympics viewing party. It contains diced potatoes as well as peas, carrots, eggs, pickles and sometimes other vegetables in a rich mayonnaise dressing. Olivier will also contain some kind of meat, and this varies by taste – chicken, beef, veal, sausage, turkey, etc.

Of course celebrating Russia would not be the same without Borscht! But don’t worry this recipe is for one of the tastiest versions around! This simple, colorful recipe for Borscht was ‘stolen’ from Petrossian West Hollywood’s Executive Chef Benjamin Bailly.

This recipe makes 4 restaurant servings.

2 lbs Red beets
8 oz Greek plain yogurt
1/2 Cup Sherry vinegar
1 Red onion
1 Red bell pepper
1 English cucumber
1 Cup pine nuts (you can substitute with nuts of your choice)
1 Cup day old bread
1-2 Cups water
Salt and pepper

Roast the beets for about 30-40 minutes at 250 degrees. 
When they are cooked allow the beets to cool and then peel them.
Chop the peeled beets, onions, bell pepper, and cucumber. 

Puree in blender with sherry vinegar, plain yogurt, pine nuts (or substitute) and day old bread. 
Add water as needed to get thick and smooth consistency.
Garnish with a quenelle of goat cheese, a *balsamic glaze swirl, and micro greens – or for a luxurious twist garnish with your favorite caviar!

(*Balsamic Glaze is a reduction of balsamic vinegar – bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes until it has reduced by half).

Petrossian West Hollywood Boutique & Café 
321 North Robertson Boulevard 
West Hollywood, CA 90048