Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Frugal Gourmet: On Our Immigrant Ancestors: Russian Borscht

OK, you guys.

You've been with me through a lot.  Through recipes that stupid lemons ruined, through terrible fried hot dogs, to beautiful cupcakes that no one ate.  You've been there with me, and I like to think that you trust me to tell you valuable food things, both good and bad.

You're going to think I've gone completely off the rails with this one, but I promise you I have not.  I promise.

Going into this recipe, I didn't think I liked beets or cabbage, and I'd never tried lamb.  You're probably wondering, then, why I bothered with this recipe at all, seeing as to how those are three big parts of it.

It's because I'm attempting to expand my horizons.  Dennis uses beets all the time in his juices, and he loves cabbage, so I thought, OK, maybe it's not so bad.

And you know what?  It wasn't.  This soup was really, really tasty.  It's ugly as sin, and it looks vaguely like a bloody massacre, but it's super good.

Just trust me on this one, OK?

(Side Note:  To keep you from having to do the painful math I had to do [I'm so bad at math!] when figuring out exactly how much beef broth was needed, 3 1/2 quarts = 14 cups.)

(Side Note 2:  Dennis looked over my shoulder while I was reading this in the cookbook, and he said, "You're making something called Russian Bulls**t?"  That struck me as so funny, that's what I've taken to calling it now.  I'm sorry.  Please try it anyway.)

Russian Borscht
Makes about 12 servings (it also freezes well!)
From The Frugal Gourmet: On Our Immigrant Ancestors


3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 lb. lamb meat, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 lbs. green cabbage, cored and chopped
1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, diced
2 lbs. red beets, peeled and diced
3 1/2 quarts beef broth or stock
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Heat a 12-quart stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the oil, garlic, and lamb.  Brown the lamb, then add the onion.  

Saute until the onion is tender, and then add cabbage, tomatoes, beets, beef broth, vinegar, bay leaves, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil (this will take a while), then turn down to a simmer.  Cook covered for 1 hr., 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and dish into individual bowls.  Add sour cream on top if you'd like.

Trust me.


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