My husband served a two-year mission in Russia before we met, went to Ukraine on a study abroad while we were engaged, the two of us lived in Moscow during the summer of 2007, and he went to Russia again a year ago to research a paper he was writing. All of that has created a soft spot in our hearts for the Slavs. So it was certainly about time I posted a Russian recipe.
Borscht is one of the first meals I remember making as a newly married couple (we accidentally left it cooking on the stove while we went out and ruined both the soup and our cooking pot), and is one of our favorite meals. If you've never made or (gasp!) never even tasted borscht, you should really try this beautiful, flavorful soup.
Over the years we have made countless versions of borscht, using several different recipes or making it up as we went along. The last time my husband requested borscht, I ran across this recipe and it turned out to be as authentic and tasty as any borscht we've made.
For a vegetarian version, omit the meat. Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil and replace the beef broth with vegetable broth. Skip steps 1 and 2, and follow the remaining steps as written, adding all of the broth.
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
9 cups beef broth, divided
1 pound beef shank
1 large onion, chopped
3 large beets, peeled and julienned
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
3 tablespoons vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1) In large pot, bring 4 cups of the beef broth, the beef shank, and onion to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, up to 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
2) Transfer meat to a work surface; trim any fat, sinew or bone and discard. Cut meat into bite-sized chunks; cover and chill. Cool broth slightly. Chill broth in pot until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Spoon fat from top of chilled broth and discard.
3) Add remaining 5 cups broth, beets, carrots, and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
4) Stir in meat, cabbage and dill; cook until cabbage is tender, at least 15 minutes (the longer this soup cooks, the better the flavor and the richer the color). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5) Stir in vinegar right before serving. Garnish with sour cream and additional dill, if desired. Enjoy!