From David Kodeski
[Says David: “Here are my recipes. I’ve decided to write them in the style of my father (with maybe a little less backtracking?). I loved making these soups and am so pleased that they were so roundly enjoyed! I’m an eye-baller when it comes to soup — so, measurements are completely approximate.]
In a crock, mix together 4 cups of fresh rye flour and roughly 8 cups of lukewarm water.
Cover and stick it someplace warm (as described below in recipe for red borscht).
The mixture will bubble. Once it has stopped bubbling and a mostly clear and brownish liquid (kvas) has formed, add 6-8 cups cool water (if your crock will take it — mine won’t so I just pour off the liquid that’s formed and add another 8 cups of water to get a second batch of liquid)….
If your crock can take that other 6-8 cups of cool water — add it, stir and give it an hour or so to settle…. then, pour off the liquid and refrigerate.
Some folks (my mother) would have added a few cloves of garlic to the liquid at this point and removed them as they were preparing the borscht.
Rehydrate some decent, flavorful, dark, dried mushrooms (you can apparently no longer get the really lovely boletus mushrooms from Poland — usually they’re just Porcinis). Once they’ve been rehydrated, add them to the kvas. Pour in that liquid those mushrooms have been soaking in as well.
(If someone can find me some dried boletus mushrooms from Poland- that don’t cost as much as a Wall Street investor’s garbage can I’d be ever grateful)
Sautee some garlic (see red borscht) in a soup pot. Once it has become fragrant and has started to color, add the kvas and mushroom mixture.
Add “enough” vegetable stock to make it a nice amount without diminishing the tartness imparted by the kvas.
Get it nice and hot.
Temper 1/2 pint (or more) of heavy cream with the hot liquid. Slowly add to the kvas/mushroom/stock mixture — you want more than anything at this point to avoid any curdling. Curdling will destroy this borscht. It’s happened to me and made me most sad.
My parents and grandparents would add Gravy Master at some point here to make it “nysse end b-rown” — I do not do this.
Some folks add a touch of sugar at this point. I do not.
Salt and fair amount of white pepper is good though.
Serve over boiled diced potatoes or with ushki (which is a recipe unto itself… basically they are tiny mushroom and onion filled pierogies that are very relatively related to tortellini. I’ll give you my babci’s recipe if you make them and give me some).
[Bonus! David also provided his father’s recipe for kvas. Here it is, from the horse’s … hand.]