4 dried mushrooms
5 fresh beets or 2 cans beets
4 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
7 olives, dry cured or green pitted
2 cups shredded white cabbage
1 lg onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp mild white vinegar
3 ribs celery
1/2 tsp. sour salt (optional)
Carp fillets or other firm-fleshed fish (1/4 pound per person)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup beet kvas or tomato juice
2-1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
1. Soak mushrooms in boiling water until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove and chop coarsely, reserving water.
2. Scrub beets in cold water and cook, covered with water, until tender. Cool, peel, and shred beets, reserving cooking liquid, or shred canned beets, reserving juice. Coarsely chop celery, carrots, and parsnips, place in a large, heavy pot, with cold water to cover.
3. Add allspice, bay leaf, mushrooms, and olives and cook until vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaf. Combine cabbage and beets and add to vegetables. Add mushroom water, beet cooking liquid or juice, and enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to boil and cook over low heat until cabbage is soft.
4. Saute chopped onion in butter until cooked through. Add flour and cook until golden, adding vinegar and enough cooking liquid to thicken. Pour into soup and simmer, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. For more tartness, add a little sour salt. Mix sour cream and kvas or tomato juice and add to borshch.
5. Cut fish into serving portions, sprinkle with salt, and allow to rest 10 minutes. Flour each piece and fry in a little butter until crisp, turning once.
6. Serve soup with a piece of fish in each bowl and sprinkle with chopped dill. Serve with garlic puffs.