Winter Borscht

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Hearty Winter Borscht

Copyright 2014 Jacqueline Peppard

This is a hearty winter borscht that is served hot. The bacon gives it a wonderful smoky flavor.  Traditional borscht usually contains potatoes, but I have substituted celery root instead.

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Winter Borscht

Makes 8 large servings

This is a hearty winter borscht served hot, and the bacon lends a wonderful smoky flavor. Traditional borscht usually contains potatoes, but I have substituted celery root and carrots instead.

Ingredients:

6 small or 4 medium or two large beets – basically enough to equal two cups grated

3 tablespoons butter

2 pounds beef stew meat cut into two inch cubes

8 cups beef broth or water

Six pieces of thick cut bacon cut into 1 inch slices (about 1/2 lb.)

4 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 large onion, sliced

1 celery heart sliced into 1/2 inch slices

4 cloves garlic minced

1 large leek, cleaned, and sliced (optional)

1 large celery root, trimmed and cubed

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sour cream

Chives or scallions finely minced

Directions:

Beets cooked first are so much easier to shred, especially if you don’t have a food processor. Place trimmed whole beets into a pan and add 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to medium low. Let cook for about 30 minutes, or until a fork can penetrate easily for larger ones. Remove from heat and let cool. Coarsely grate beets and set aside.

While beets are cooking, brown the beef in 2 tablespoon butter in the bottom of an 8 quart stock pot. You might have to do this in batches, 1 tablespoon butter for each pound of beef. Cover with 8 cups broth or water and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, lightly brown the bacon and add to stew meat. Reserve bacon drippings left in skillet. Don’t over brown, as you want the bacon to cook up soft in the meat mixture.

Let the meat mixture simmer for 45 minutes.

Add carrots to meat mixture.

Add 4 cloves garlic minced, 1 onion sliced, and 1 celery heart cut in 1/2 inch slices to the bacon drippings (add 1 tablespoon butter if needed). Sauté until fragrant. Add to meat mixture and simmer all for another 30 -45 minutes or until meat is fork tender.

Sauté the sliced leek in 1 TBS butter until fragrant, and then add the leek, celery root, and beets, to soup mixture. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Serve warm, garnished with generous dollops of sour cream and a dash of chives or scallions. The organic Wallaby brand sour cream is absolutely the best. It is made in the thick creamy European style, contains live and active probiotic cultures, and no additives such as carrageenan.

Variations: 1/2 head shredded cabbage added with cooked grated beets.

Cook’s note: Unless you make your own broth, it is hard to find a commercially prepared broth that is made from grass fed meat and bones. Most contain grain products and additives, even the organic brands. Using water is fine and still creates a flavorful soup.

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