I spent a good portion of my childhood loitering around my baba’s [grandmother’s] kitchen as she cooked traditional, nourishing borscht. My “dido” [Ukrainian for grandfather] inevitably was drawn in by its aroma, and we spent magical time together in the kitchen. Baba cooked while Dido played his fi ddle and spun folk stories about runaway doughnuts that refused to be eaten. Click here to read the rest of Vera’s heartwarming Sunday Dinner story.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 lb beef stew meat, cut in ¾-inch cubes
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 quarts beef stock
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 clove garlic, minced
- 8 medium-size fresh beets, boiled, skinned, and shredded
- 2 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 small can tomato paste
- Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 lemons, if you prefer)
- 1 handful fresh dill, minced
- 1 handful fresh parsley, minced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Sour cream (optional)
In a large pot, heat the oil on high for 30 seconds. Add the beef cubes and bay leaves. Sauté until golden brown. Pour in the stock and reduce the heat.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Simmer on low for 2 hours, or until the meat is meltingly tender, making sure the soup never boils. Add the beets and cabbage during the last half hour of cooking.
Spoon in the tomato paste and sprinkle with lemon juice. Add a little hot water if the soup is too thick. Stir in the dill and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
For a bolder taste, substitute lamb. I like to use lamb rib chops or loin chops.
Homemade stock is preferred for a deeper, more heartfelt flavor.
Serve the borscht with lightly toasted and buttered whole wheat Portuguese ciabatta rolls.
Serves 6. Per serving: 330 calories, 10g carbs, 16g protein, 25g fat, 450mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 1g fiber