Borscht is a beetroot soup made in Russia, the Ukraine, Poland and probably many other counties in that direction. The beetroot is compulsory but there are many variations. Some are smooth and creamy but this is a chunky version with nice hearty chunks of beef. It's healthy, iron-rich and sweetly soothing. We've eaten the leftovers in the freezer already.
This recipe came (mostly) from my Australian Women's Weekly Slow Cooker book. Another hit from Mum's Christmas present.
Ingredients for 6:
2 tbsps butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
500g / 1lb beef stewing or chuck steak, cut into large chunks
250 ml / 1 cup water
750 g / 1 1/2 lbs raw beetroot (beets, peeled and chopped into bite-size chunks
2 medium potatoes, cut the same way
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2" thick "pennies"
1 400 g / 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 litre/ 4 cups beef stock
80 ml (1/3 cup) red wine vinegar
3 bay leaves
1/2 large savoy cabbage (or similar) finely shredded
Sour cream, to serve
Melt half the butter in a large frying pan or skillet. Cook the onion until soft then transfer to the slow cooker. Add the rest of the butter and the beef, quickly turning the beef until each cube is browned on each side. Add the beef to the slow cooker.
Add everything down to the bay leaves to the slow cooker and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8.
Turn the cooker to High if it isn't already and quickly add the cabbage, stirring to submerge it. Once your cabbage is wilted - maybe 20 minutes - it's time to serve. Serve with about 2 tbsp of sour cream on each bowl. Steamed new potatoes are a traditional accompaniment.
This was easy and a healthy, satisfying soup. But don't let me make it sound too worthy! It's really tasty too! The vinegar may sound odd but you need it - you don't taste it but it lightens the flavours and makes all the different vegetable tastes really sing.
I think I'll make a smooth version as well some time soon. I'd forgotten how much I love borscht.