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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hungry Dancer: Borscht, pozhaluista! (Borscht, please!)

Growing up, I hated beets. My mom and grandmother used to pickle beets and I thought they were just gross. Thus, I categorized all and any beets as nasty and wrote them off. Until the Russians.

Caution: your hands will turn pink

While still a student over the last few years, I was pretty involved with the international student community at my university. I made friends with people from many different countries, including Russia, and as such, I got to try my first bowl of authentic borscht. One bite and me and those beets became friends once again.

This cold weather has had me craving a hearty bowl of borscht. Chock full of veggies, it's both tasty and good for you, and it fills you up. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the meat, but I need my animal protein, so beef it is for me.

As usual, I modified a couple different recipes to make my own. And as usual, my measurements are flexible :)

Hungry Dancer's Slow-Cooker Borscht

1 lb. of stew beef cubes (leave out to make vegetarian)
3 or 4 carrots, peeled and thickly chopped
2 or 3 potatoes (depending on size), peeled and cubed
3 tomatoes, diced
Half a white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Half a head of cabbage, chopped
3 beets, peeled and cubed
2 cups of water
1 6-oz. can of tomato paste
6 T. apple cider vinegar
3 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Bay leaf
Sour cream or plain yogurt

1. Throw beef, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cabbage and beets into a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, dill, salt and pepper. When mixed, stir in bay leaf.
3. Pour sauce over meat and veggies.
4. Cover and cook on high for ~5 hours, or until meat is cooked through and veggies are soft (specifically the beets).
5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt on top.
6. Enjoy!

Yes, yes, y'all, this hit the spot. The earthiness of the beets mellows out to a subtle sweetness and the cool sour cream is the perfect match to the bite of the vinegar. I hope I made my Russian chums proud!

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What's your favorite hearty, mid-winter stew? If you're not afraid of fuschia hands and fuschia soup, give this one a try!

Happy Eating!


1 comment:

  1. I also hated beets until adulthood! Now they're so delicious.