My first memorable encounter with borscht was at a pot-luck party I had in San Francisco, in which my friend Elisabeth brought a huge, must have been 12 or 16-quart, pot of drop-dead delicious, deep purply red soup filled with beets. Elisabeth’s grandparents were Ukrainian, and I think borscht was one of her favorite soups to make. Every time I make or eat borscht I think of my friend and the discovery of how good a soup made primarily of beets can be.
The wind is howling outside, if any leaves remain on the trees they are sure to come down today. Here is a wonderfully satisfying beet borscht, perfect for a cold weather day.
- 8 cups beef broth*
- 1 pound slice of meaty bone-in beef shank
- 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
- 4 large beets, peeled, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
*Use gluten-free broth if you are cooking gluten-free
1 Bring 4 cups of the beef broth, the beef shank, and onion to boil in large pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
2 Transfer meat to work surface; trim fat, sinew and bone and discard. Chop meat; cover and chill. Cool broth slightly. Chill in pot until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
3 Spoon fat from top of chilled broth and discard. Add remaining 4 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 1/2 cup dill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar.
Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup dill.
Yield: Serves 6.