MY BESTEST BORSCHT: LOOK, MA, NO CABBAGE!!!

By • March 5, 2013 3 Comments

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MY BESTEST BORSCHT: LOOK, MA,  NO CABBAGE!!!


Author Notes: I'm just not a cooked cabbage fan, and with my borscht, the tomato and nutty root vegetables are the highlights, with the punch of vinegar and touch of sweetness. Over the years I have tweaked this recipe and thanks to 52, I have been cooking with a lot of greens and grains this past year, and I think they elevate this dish to a particularly healthy and satisfying level.LE BEC FIN

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Serves 16, 1 1/2 cups per person

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion in 1/3 inch dice
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds canned (or fresh) whole beets,shredded (may need more)
  • 2 cups (1 pound)peeled and shredded celery root
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) unpeeled grated parsnips
  • 1/2-3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 pounds canned plum tomatoes,removed from juice and briefly chopped in food processor; and juices reserved
  • 3 medium unpeeled yukon gold potatoes, in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup parsley, soaked, drained, dried, chopped
  • 3-4 quarts full flavored beef stock
  • 1 pound cubed chuck stew beef**
  • 4-5 cups cooked 'hard'/winter wheatberries ( was 2- 2 1/2 cups raw)
  • 1 cup red chard leaves, chiffonade, soaked and drained
  • 2 cups chard stems, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces, soaked and drained
  • optional soy sauce or tamari, if flavor needs more depth
  • plain yoghurt for topping
  1. In 8 quart pot, sautee onion and garlic in hot butter and oil mixture for about 5 minutes until translucent. Do not brown. Add beets through potatoes, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, til vegetables are just cooked through.*** Add beef stock. Remove pot from heat and use some of this liquid to braise the beef for a few hours. Return pot to heat and add shredded beef and cooked wheatberries, and stir to combine.Bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes . Taste and add more beets, sugar, vinegar or tomato juices as needed for a full bodied tart flavor.** Add chard stems and leaves and simmer 5 minutes til tender.
  2. Flavor improves if it sits for a day or two. Serve hot or cold, topped with yoghurt. Freezes well .
  3. **For the beef , sear and saute the beef in some hot canola oil. Ladle borscht liquid(no vegetables) over the beef to cover. Bring to boil, stir, turn down to simmer, cover and braise 4-5 hours, stirring every now and then and replenishing liquid if needed, til beef is soft enough to shred. Remove beef from braising liquid and shred beef by pulsing briefly in food processor. Beef shank or short ribs could also be used and the bones would give extra flavor. (Ask your butcher how many pounds would be needed to yield 1 pound of meat.)
  4. *** For vegetarian guests, set aside 1 1/2 cups per person of mixture before adding beef stock and beef. Add some vegetable stock, chard aned wheatberries

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