Nothing is more classic to make with beets than borscht. And nothing is more warming and filling on a cold winter's day than earthy beet soup. This is the version that I grew up with. I will warn you, there are a few controversial things about it. It has beef in it for one thing. And it doesn't contain any cabbage or tomatoes. People take these things seriously! I don't mean to offend anyone, this is just the way we like to make it and I think you might like it too, if you give it a chance. If you really need, this can be used as a good base recipe that you can adjust to your own personal borscht liking.
1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
8-10 oz stewing beef, preferably 1/2" or smaller cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red skinned potato, chopped (optional)
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium parsnips, chopped (or use 2 stalks of celery, chopped)
4 cups peeled and chopped red beets
1-2 cloves garlic, mashed up with salt
1 tsp sugar
6 cups water, vegetable or beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
red wine vinegar to taste
sour cream to garnish
chopped parsley to garnish
Heat a large stew pot or Dutch oven with oil over medium high heat.
Add beef and cook until well browned. Add vegetables, garlic, sugar and water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beets are soft, about 60 minutes.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar. The red wine vinegar is essential here, so don't leave it out. It adds just a little bit of zing that keeps this soup from being one-dimensional. Plus, it is very traditional.
Serve with a swirl of sour cream and parsley on top.
Note: This recipe freezes wonderfully, in fact some people say it is even better after being frozen, thawed and reheated!
Yummy gardening everyone!