Since the first year that I signed up for a winter CSA share, I've been experimenting with borscht; the Eastern European, beet-based soup. It's a great, tasty way to use up a variety of hearty root vegetables.
Making borscht completely from scratch takes a while, since it involves making beef stock, this is a quick version that I prepare when I don't have the time, or the bones, for stock.
~ A splash of olive oil
~ 2 onions, chopped
~ 2 pounds ground beef
~ 5 cloves garlic, chopped
~ 1 jar tomato paste
~ 8-10 cups stock. Homemade beef is best and homemade chicken is second best. When I don't have anything homemade, I use Imagine Organic Chicken Broth, the only decent store-bought broth I've ever found
~ A bunch of root vegetables,shredded (see picture above). For this batch I used 3 large red beets, 1 yellow beet, 1 chioggia beet, 1 rutabega, 1 parsnip and 3 carrots. Cabbage is also a great inclusion. I use a special KitchenAid attachment to shred the vegetables. A food processor would also work. Doing it by hand with a box grater takes a long time. I know, 'cause I used to insist on doing it that way, just to be stubborn.
~ Fresh or dried dill
~ Bay leaves
~ Cider vinegar to taste
~ Salt and pepper to taste
~ Sour cream
Heat olive oil and saute onions until they are light brown in places. Add the ground beef and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring regularly, until you smell a pleasant, tomato-y aroma and the color of the paste darkens. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the shredded veggies, dill and bay leaves. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and the flavors are combined, at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
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