Ossetia is a beautiful mountainous republic in the south of Russia. A lack of fertile land for farming is compensated for by boundless meadows, and this has made Ossetians true connoisseurs of meat. Vegetarian diets are not welcomed here at all. Well, I should be entirely honest with you – Ossetian men are also strongly convinced that meat provides them with virility. A lack of meat can lead to irreparable consequences, so they think. Dissuading them from this idea is impossible.
Anyway, lyvzha soup also goes over well with women because it is so easy to cook. One can hardly find a place in the world where the ingredients are difficult to come by. I’ve cooked it in France, Italy, England, China and in Kazakhstan - every time it was a warming and delicious reminder of home.
The recipe is wonderfully simple, but it has a tiny little secret. Scientists call it thymus serpyllum, or creeping thyme, which grows throughout the Caucasus Mountains. It is deeply prized by locals not only for its piquant scent and flavor. Containing selenium and molybdenum, thyme has a positive effect on masculine virility, contributing to the production of testosterone. Perhaps that’s why in Ossetia we put thyme into various meat and poultry dishes, and even in tea.
To prepare the best soup for a man you just cut the meat and potato into man-sized pieces, boil them and add thyme.
1. Cut the beef into man-size cubes, put into cold water and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam. When it boils, lower the flame. Keep skimming off the foam for clear broth.
2. You have about an hour to prepare the vegetables. Peel the onions, chop them, add a good splash of oil to the pan and gently sauté the onions.
3. I like the dish to be more colorful, so I cut the carrots into quite large pieces, but you can grate them if you wish.
4. Man-size, remember? Make 4 pieces out of one potato. Five times four – I’ve got 20 pieces.
5. In about an hour the meat is almost ready; time to add the sauté onions, carrots, potatoes and peppercorns. Boil them together for 10 minutes, and then add salt, crushed garlic, chopped dill, chopped parsley and thyme.
6. Another 15-20 minutes of patience and here it is – your newly favorite lyvzha soup! Serve hot with mounds of sour cream. Priyatnogo appetita!
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