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The rich earthy goodness of roasted beets are the star of this hearty Borscht.  Braised beef short-ribs add an additional depth of flavor to this old-world dish.  Topped with a dilly sour cream and green onions, this bowl of simple dark red stew is full of complex combinations of flavor.

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Short Rib Borscht

Cooks note: I prefer to used roasted beets for this dish, to me they add more flavor.  You can skip this step, just make sure to allow enough cooking time for the beets to become tender.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 large red beets, roasted, peeled, and cubed
  • 1 can 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

  • ½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • ¼  cup chopped dill
  • 1 Tablespoon ground horseradish, hot
  • ½ cup chopped scallion

Method

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-hing heat.  Season the ribs with salt and add to the pan cooking until the ribs are browned on all sides.  Remove the ribs from the pan and discard all but about a quarter of a cup of the rendered fat from the pot.  If the fat doesn’t yield a quarter of a cup supplement with more canola.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the onions.  Cook, stirring often until the onions begin to turn golden and are tender.  Add the garlic and cook for several more minutes.

Add the stock to the pot along with the beets, tomatoes (liquid and all), carrot, and browned short ribs. Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 3 hours stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

When the ribs are tender and falling off the bone, remove them from the pan with tongs.  Using an emulsion blender, wand the soup until mostly smooth. Be sure that you have removed all of the bones in the pot before blending.

Pull the short rib meat from the bones and cut into bite size pieces. Return rib meat to the pot.  Soup should be the consistency of a thick stew. Simmer uncovered to thicken if necessary.

To garnish, mix together the sour cream, dill, and horseradish in a small bowl.  Top bowl with a dollop of the sour cream mixture and chopped scallion.  Serve with Pampushki or a dark rye roll.

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