Borscht, a light, yet hearty soup originating in the Ukraine, seems strange and exotic to many of us. The color, a vibrant – almost electric – fuscia is the result of the beets in the recipe. It’s the beets and other simple veggies that have made it accessible to the working masses for ages. Meat can be added but isn’t necessary. The simplicity of it is beautiful. The brightness of the flavors do not keep it from being a warm, satisfying meal or side. I had to add it to my go-to recipes of family favorites.
The simple flavors are enhanced by the venison stock I had on hand. Some chopped, cooked-all-day venison create a one-bowl meal fit for a Deerslayer!
One of the things I love about borscht is that I always have almost all of the ingredients on hand. I usually don’t have beets but they keep forever in the fridge. The only down-side is that beets really stain. My girls used to use the peeled bits to stain their lips. I didn’t think it looked quite as Disney-esque as the girls thought it did! You might want to wear old clothes while you’re peeling and chopping the beets. I have a special red denim beet-peeling shirt that I like to use for just such occasions.
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cups stock (I used venison), or water
2 large carrots, sliced thinly
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/3 medium head of cabbage, shredded
1 lb. beets, peeled and chopped into small cubes (A beet slightly larger than my fist is about a pound.)
1 cup of tomato juice (I used spicy V8. It was nice)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. dried dill weed
1-2 tsp. white sugar (to taste)
1-2 tsp. salt (to taste)
1 ½ tsp. white pepper
Cooked-All-Day venison (optional)
In a large soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil. Stir in garlic and continue stirring for a couple of minutes. Add stock (or water) and remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow boil and allow to cook for about 20 minutes until veggies are very tender. If you have any “cooked-all-day venison”, toss it in and allow it to warm through.
Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
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