Blogging traditional Russian recipes can be controversial. Three of my most popular recipe blogs are Russian dishes: Lamb Plov, Lemon Ricotta Syrniki and Pelmeni. About once a week I get emails from readers who tell me that although my recipe was delicious, this is *not* how their mother/grandmother/aunt made the dish. I have a feeling that I’m going to receive similar reaction to this recipe.
When I was growing up, borscht was a staple in our Russian Jewish household. Mama made borscht once every two months or so. When we were really lucky, grandma would make it! Somehow, even though grandma used the same recipe, hers was always better (shhhhh…. don’t tell mama!) Now I get to share my version of my family recipe with you!
Stew meat and beef bones ready to braise
Borscht with Beef
Borscht with Beef (Борщ с мясом)
Makes 12-16 bowls of soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large red, orange or yellow peppers, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 pounds stew meat, diced
2-3 pounds beef bones
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can of tomato paste
4 medium size raw beets, peeled and diced
4 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups shredded cabbage
24 cups water (approximately), divided
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1. In a large heavy bottomed pot (7.25 quart), on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, peppers, carrots and celery. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until onions are translucent and peppers have softened. Remove from pot, set aside.
2. Season stew meat liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add stew meat to the pot and brown on all sides.
3. Season beef bones liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add beef bones to the pot and brown on all sides.
4. Add enough water to cover beef bones. Approximately 8 cups. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a medium/low simmer.
5. Let simmer until water has reduced by half, stirring occasionally. This will take about 1 hour.
6. Add garlic, tomato paste, raw beets and potatoes. Return sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add 16 cups of water (the pot should almost be full).
7. Bring heat up to a medium/high and let the soup come to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until beets and potatoes are cooked through.
8. Add cabbage. Simmer another 5 minutes.
9. Taste and add kosher salt and pepper as needed.
Cooks note: The soup tastes best after it’s been cooled and reheated… so go ahead and enjoy it tomorrow for dinner!
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!