Hubby's Mom gave me this borscht recipe many moons ago and we've always loved it. I'm not too sure how entirely authentic it is but I do know it is delicious! I'm a huge beet lover anyway, and this soup is a nice fall addition to the menu plan when the harvest comes in. It's a nice way to use up those extra cabbage leaves leftover from the making of cabbage rolls. It goes good with some nice Ciabatta buns, garlic or cheese bread or any kind of fresh bread cut nice and thick and slathered with real butter. The nice thing about this soup is that it lends itself well as a vegetarian dish, which I'm sure it originally is. My hubby, the carnivore, prefers the beef chunks in his Mom's recipe. This last time I made it, I didn't have any stew beef, so I used sliced and browned kielbasa sausage and it was also delicious.
-2 cups diced, cooked beets or equivalent canned beets, drained
-1 lb. beef stew trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
-1 tsp. salt
-1 Tbsp. vinegar
-1 cup carrots, chopped
-2 cups cabbage, shredded
-1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
-1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped or 2 tsp. dried dill
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
-1 1/2 cup potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
-1 large stalk celery, chopped
-1 Tbsp. sugar
-1/4 cup onion, chopped and browned in 1 Tbsp. butter
-1 cup sour cream
If using fresh beets, cover unpeeled beets with water and simmer until soft when poked with a fork right through to the center. Drain and when cool, peel the beet and cut into a nice sized dice. (If you've never worked with beets before take note that the juice really stains so be careful what you get it on. A little lemon juice on your hands afterward should help get rid of the stains on your hands.)
Brown the beef in 1 Tbsp oil in dutch oven until browned. Cover with water. Simmer 1 1/2 - 2 hours until tender. Add all ingredients except sugar, butter and sour cream. Bring to gentle boil, turn down heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add sugar and onion browned in butter. Stir in extra dill if you desire a stronger dill flavor.
Just before serving stir in the sour cream. This step is optional but we're a sour cream loving family so to us it is not an option. If you have a mix of sour cream lovers and haters, just put a dollop in the bowls of those who want it.