I originally got this recipe from my mom who got it from her dad, so it comes with a little bit of history. Since then, as is tradition with all borscht, I’ve made my own changes, including a searing step for the meat to deepen the umami flavours, slow cooking the onions, and, most recently, adding some dill to the finishing step, which I think adds a really nice additional dimension to the whole thing.
Of course, all Borscht is different, so experiment with this!
I recently tried replacing half the stewing beef with two pounds of beef rib that I seared before cooking. After skimming off a truly astounding amount of fat off the top of the soup (I probably should’ve trimmed the ribs and rendered more of the fat out by searing it on the grill), it came out exceptionally tender and delicious.
I’ve also experimented with adding a few quartered and sliced potatoes to the soup, which can be a nice addition. Just make sure you put them in early enough that they cook through, but not so early that they turn mushy (I’d estimate that took about 45 minutes the last time I tried this).
My next experiment will probably be to add a little of my own dill pickle brine to replace some of the vinegar and dill and add some garlicky goodness.
|2 T||Olive oil|
|4||Medium beets, quartered and sliced|
|3||Medium carrots, sliced|
|2||Small onions, quartered and sliced|
|1||Small cabbage1, sliced into short 1/4” pieces|
|2 lbs||Stew meat|
|1 can||Tomato paste|
|1||Medium beet, shredded|
|1 Handful||Fresh dill, chopped|
- Cut stew meat into bite-sized pieces.
- In a stock pot, pre-heat 1 T of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Brown stew meat in small batches to get a nice sear, then remove and set aside. If you’re using stainless steel, you should build up a nice fonde in the pan. This is good!
- Reduce heat to low and add the other 1 T of olive oil to the pot.
- Add the onions and a pinch of salt.
- Slow cook the onions for 15-20 minutes while prepping your other vegetables. Make sure to scrape up that fonde!
- Add water, salt, bay leaf, beets, carrots, stew meat (with any juices), and enough cabbage to fill the pot. Note, there should be enough water to cover. If not, add more as needed.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
- Add tomato paste, shredded beet, vinegar, sugar, and dill.
- Simmer until beet is cooked through.
- Add additional salt, sugar, and vinegar to taste (we like a strong sweet-and-sour flavour in our household).
- Serve with a large dollop of sour cream.
Be warned, when say “small cabbage” I mean small. The most recent cabbage I got was the size of a bowling ball and I only used a quarter of it… ↩
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