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Monday, 01 April 2013 00:00

Beety Borscht

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This easy recipe was inspired by the excellent borscht our landlord's babushka (Russian for 'grandmother') made for us the summer we lived in Crimea, Ukraine.  Although you could certainly make a vegetarian version, our babuschka was quite insistent that "borscht isn't borscht without meat" -- much to our vegetarian flat-mate's chagrin!

  • Ingredients:


    2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

    1 red onion, cut in half & then into slices

    2 1/2 lb beef short ribs, seasoned with salt & pepper to taste (~1 1/2 lbs if boneless)

    4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

    1 Tbsp caraway seeds

    3 large carrots, peeled & chopped into 1/2" pieces

    4 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces (we prefer Yukon Gold)

    2 medium beets, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces

    4 medium beets, peeled and coarsely shredded (we used a food processor to make this easy)

    2 cups vegetable broth

    8 oz coarsely-shredded red cabbage

    1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste

    2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

    2 cups water


  • Instructions:


    Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute until softened.  Add short ribs and garlic and saute until ribs are browned on all sides.  Remove ribs, garlic and onions to crock pot.  Set crockpot to low while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

    Add remaining olive oil to same pan and heat (medium-high).  Add caraway seeds, beet chunks, carrots and potatoes, and saute until lightly browned (~10 mins).  Add to crockpot in a layer on top of the ribs/onions mixture.

    Put shredded beets and broth into same pan and stir 2-3 minutes, scraping the pan to deglaze.  Pour mixture into crockpot, over top of existing layers. Add red cabbage to crockpot as as a final top layer.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, tomato paste and water (start with ~1/2 cup water for a smoother mixture).  Pour over top of cabbage layer.  Cover crockpot (without stirring layers) and cook on low for 8 hours or until vegetables are soft and meat is falling off the bones.

  • Serves: 4
  • Cuisine: European - East European
  • Cooking method: Slow cook/crockpot
  • Special ingredients: no dried fruits, no fresh / raw fruits that don't get cooked by the end of the recipe, no fermented / pickled foods, no beans / legumes / pulses, no dried / ground spices, no alcohol
  • Just right for...: Comfort food, Fall favorites, Winter favorites
  • Top 8 allergens?: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, nut-free, peanut-free
  • Active/prep time: 45-60 minutes
  • Total time (inc active/prep): 8-9 hours
  • Substitution ideas:

    Can easily be made without the caraway seeds.

  • Serving suggestions:

    In Ukraine, this would be served topped with a thick sour cream. We just eat it plain!

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