A Borscht for Borscht Lovers'
Author: 
Recipe Type: Main, Side
Serves: Yields a very large stock pot full, which will be enough to feed a small village
 
Discover the history of borscht soup and the secret to making the perfect pot.
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs soup bones, knuckle bones, neck bones, or breast bones
  • 2-3 lbs of inexpensive roast, shoulder meat, etc, of substitute both bones and meat with a whole duck, chicken or goose, cut into manageable chunks. Skin and bones are a must on the poultry.
  • 1 large onion, with skin or 5-6 dark green portions of leeks, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small garlic head, with skin
  • 1-2 carrots, cleaned, broken in half
  • 2-3 stalks celery, cleaned, broken in half
  • 10-15 peppercorns, crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
Vegetables:
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, lard or tallow for sweating vegetables
  • 2 large beet roots, leaves and stems removed, thoroughly cleaned
  • 2 carrots, thoroughly cleaned
  • [your root vegetable here, if desire, see suggestions above], thoroughly cleaned
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, Chinese celery, or ½ celeriac root, cleaned
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 large bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 large green pepper, cored and seeded
  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled
  • 1 small to medium cabbage head, cored
  • 1 small can of tomato paste, or 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice, or 3-4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, a dash of Paprika or cayenne pepper, up to you
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh chopped herbs or your choosing.
Instructions
Method (Vegetarians can skip over to step 9 and use vegetable stock or water):
  1. Combine meat bones and chunks of uncooked meat in a large stock pot with at least 12 cups of cold water. Water should cover all the meat and vegetables completely.
  2. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat immediately to very low.
  3. Skim the surface of the water with a skimmer, removing all gray foam and impurities.
  4. Add the vegetables and seasoning all at once.
  5. Let the stock slow simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. For best results, I would remove the meat when it’s fully cooked, and continue simmering the bones for another 2-3 hours, to make the stock heartier and stronger.
  6. Remove meat from the soup bones. Discard the bones and vegetables. Cut cooked meat into bite size chunks. Reserve the meat until needed.
  7. Strain the stock. Mesh strainer is usually enough to produce good looking stock, but you can use cheese cloth, if you like it completely transparent. Reserve the stock until needed.
  8. Rinse the stock pot out completely of all impurities.
  9. Chop onions finely, celery stalks medium, and all the root vegetables in a shape of thin french fries. Cut bell peppers in half, and slice crosswise into strips. Cube potatoes. Cut cabbage head into quarters, remove cores and slice each quarter crosswise thinly.
  10. Return the stock pot on the stove, bring the heat up to medium low and add the vegetable cooking fat of your choice.
  11. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, root vegetables at once and let them sweat in the pot for 4-5 minutes, stirring or shaking occasionally.
  12. Add chopped bell peppers if using at this point. Sweat for another minute or so.
  13. Add cubed potatoes
  14. Pour hot stock over vegetables. If there is not enough stock to cover the vegetables, add water.
  15. Bring soup to a boil and reduce heat to medium/low yet again. Stir once and cook for 15 minutes.
  16. Add shredded cabbage. Bring to a boil once again, and cook until cabbage is translucent, but still somewhat crunchy.
  17. Add the reserved meat chunks and stir the soup to distribute meat evenly. Naturally, vegetarians will omit this step.
  18. Add minced garlic, tomatoes or tomato paste and lemon juice. Stir very thoroughly, until tomato paste distributes evenly.
  19. Season to taste, adjusting salt if necessary. Sometimes onions and roots are just not sweet enough naturally, in which case, I add 1-2 tbsp of sugar to brighten the flavor. Final flavor profile should be lightly sweet and lightly tangy with mild garlic flavor.
  20. Finally, add almost all of the fresh herbs, reserving a few pinches for garnishing the bowls.
  21. Serve borscht piping hot, with a dollop of sour cream added to each bowl. Sprinkle with reserved fresh herbs.
Recipe by Honest Cooking at https://honestcooking.com/borscht-borscht-lovers/