Meaty Beet Borscht

June 16, 2017

Sure, soup doesn’t seem very summery, but a classic borscht is a great way to use not only beets, but all kinds of veggies in season. Simmering a few pork ribs first will give you some tender meaty bits and a head start on the stock—you can do it in your slow cooker if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. And if you’re a fan of beets but not of the pink fingers they leave behind, Co-op Gold frozen beets are already cubed and ready to go, straight from the bag to the pot. I see borscht as a great excuse to eat a dollop of Bles-wold sour cream from Lacombe. I also like adding some chopped Stawnichy's Mundare Ukrainian Sausage if I have some on hand—I often slice a bunch and keep it in the freezer for borscht and peroghy emergencies.

(You can also freeze the Canada 150 Berry Cake for dessert emergencies…)

Meaty Beet Borscht

With soup, measurements don’t have to be precise—you can wing it, or add more or less of whatever you like. If you see some green beans that look good, trim the stem ends, cut into 1-inch lengths and add them to the pot as well. 

canola oil, for cooking
1/2 rack pork ribs
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped or sliced Ukrainian sausage (optional)
2 cups frozen diced beets (or roasted, peeled and diced)
2-3 cups (1L) beef stock
salt and pepper, to taste
sour cream, for serving
chopped fresh dill or chives, for serving

Set a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and brown the ribs for a few minutes, just to get some colour on them. Add enough water to cover them by a couple inches, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Remove the ribs from the pot with tongs, pour off the stock and return the pot to the stove. (You don’t have to clean it out.)

Add another drizzle of oil and sauté the onion, celery and carrot for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the sausage, if you’re using it, and cook for another minute or two. 

Add the beets and stock, shred the pork off the rib bones and add to the pot, and add the stock from simmering the ribs as well. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the veggies are soft and the liquid has reduced. Taste and season with salt and pepper and serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of fresh dill or chives.

- Julie

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