UKRANIAN BORSCHT (MEAT AND VEGETABLE SOUP)
- 7 to 8 cups of water
- 1-1/4 lb. of soup meat (you can use chuck roast, short ribs, etc.)
- 3/4 lb. beets (or a 15 oz. can)
- 1 lb. potatoes
- 1 lb. cabbage
- 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 medium-size carrots, sliced
- 1 medium-size onion, sliced
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh dill or parsley, chopped fine
- Sour cream
- 2 cups skinned tomatoes
Make the meat stock with the water and beef. While meat stock is cooking (1 to 1-1/2 hrs.), prepare the following borscht ingredients:
Slowly saute the beets, sliced into long strips, together with chopped bacon and tomato paste for 20 to 30 minutes. When beets are soft, add vinegar. If at any time during the cooking process the beets begin to look dry, or threaten to burn, add some meat stock, one tablespoon at a time.
In a separate skillet, brown slightly in 2 Tbsp. of butter sliced carrots, onion, and celery. Sprinkle with flour and shake, so that each piece of vegetable will be covered with flour. Add 2 to 3 Tbsp. of meat stock and bring it all to a quick boil.
When the meat in the main pot is soft, take it out and strain the stock through a cheesecloth or fine sieve several times. Add prepared beets, raw potato and cabbage, cut in rather large pieces. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on a low heat.
Add browned vegetables, bay leaf, salt and pepper, according to taste and continue to cook slowly until potatoes and cabbage are soft.
Add skinned tomatoes, cut in 6 parts each. Cut meat into medium-size chunks, rubbing each chunk with a clove of garlic and return the meat to the borscht, bringing it to a quick boil.
Remove from the heat and let borscht stand for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Serve in large soup plates or bowls with one tablespoon or more of sour cream per serving and a dash of chopped dill or parsley