Borscht

| Prep Time: 10 min | Cooking time: 45 min |Simmering borscht

Yields 8~10 servings

Prior to moving to Japan, I’d never made borscht myself. My grandmother whipped up fresh batches every week, so my family was never in short supply. Although many people don’t consider borscht to be a German soup per say (and I am third generation German-Canadian), it’s been a staple meal in my household for as long as I can remember.

I’ll leave others to quibble over where the soup originated from originally. To be honest, I really don’t care. However, it is part of the “culinary cuisine” that I grew up with. It’s part of the cultural mosaic that makes my family unique.

Like so many ingredients needed to make “Western” dishes in Japan, it took me nearly four years to find a steady supply of tinned beets and fresh dill. In fact, it’s so hard to find dill where I live, I took to growing it myself in my meagre garden. So now, when I’m homesick or feeling blue on a rainy day, I make this soup and all life’s worries just melt away. Maybe the mulled wine helps with that, too…

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 350g~450g nicely marbled beef roast, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 standard tins of beets, drained and sliced (liquid reserved)
  • 250 ml carrots, grated
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 700 ml water (including reserved beet juice)
  • 250 ml unpeeled potatoes, diced
  • 500 ml green or red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 150~200 ml fresh dill weed, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Sour cream for garnish

Directions

  1. In a well heated and oiled pan, sauté the onions and garlic until they’re translucent. Remove them from the heat and place them in a bowl, reserving any excess oil.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, salt, paprika, and pepper together. Toss the cubed beef in this mixture until evenly covered. Add a little vegetable oil to the pan and brown the beef over a medium-high flame, tossing frequently. Do not cook the beef all the way through.
  3. Pour the broth and water (plus reserved beet juice) into a large pot or dutch oven. Add  the beef, beets, and carrots to the soup while bringing it to a boil.
  4. Once the soup begins to boil, reduce it to a simmer and add the onion, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Simmer it for about 5 minutes.
  5. At this point, add the potatoes. Continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender. This should take between 10~15 minutes.
  6. Add the dill weed, cabbage, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the cabbage is tender.
  7. Serve with a dollop of sour cream alongside a fresh baguette or sour dough bread.
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