Country Borscht Stew

I had to call my mom a couple times to double-check the recipe, but I did it! I also messed up a couple things, but it was still fantastic (if I do say so myself). I had some friends over for dinner to try it as well. Apparently they had never eaten beets before, and they enjoyed it. So while it’s a lot of time and effort, it’s not terribly expensive, and it makes around 6 servings. It freezes and keeps well, so it’s good for leftovers too. It’s really not difficult, I promise.

We were so excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture. But apparently Michael Scott has something to say about it.

We were so excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture. But apparently Michael Scott has something to say about it.

– 1 3/4 lb beets w/o tops (about 6 beets the size of my lady fist)
– 1 medium head red cabbage
– 1 lb carrots
– 1 lb parsnips
– 5 lb beef chuck short ribs (I used 1.25 lbs because I’m cheap)
– 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
– 2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp caraway seeds, crushed (I didn’t use)
– ¼ tsp ground cloves
– 32 oz chicken broth
– 2 bay leaves (I didn’t use)
– ½ cup fresh dill, chopped (I didn’t use)
– sour cream for dressing

First, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1. Trim, peel, and shred beets. Cut cabbage into quarters, remove core, and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Cut up rest of veggies. The beets will stain your hands and clothing, so don’t wear anything you really like. Also, I didn’t shred the beets. I just cut them up into thin-ish slices and pieces.

2. In a big pot over medium-high heat, brown spare ribs on all sides, then transfer to a bowl. Depending on how much you get, you may need to cook the spare ribs in batches.

3. Over medium heat, add carrots, parsnips, onions, salt, caraway seeds, and cloves. I accidentally added all of the vegetables at the same time. In the end, it didn’t seem to matter.

4. Cook until vegetables are golden (~10 minutes), then add red cabbage. You’re supposed to cook until the cabbage wilts (~10 minutes), but like I said, I added it all at the same time.

5. Add meat, bay leaves, broth, and beets. Again, I added the beets in step 3, and it still ended up tasty.

6. Bring to a boil, then cover and put in oven to bake for ~2 hours or until meat is tender. My friends came over after about an hour of cooking, so I just turned the heat up a bit to 350 degrees and kept an eye on it.

7. Remove meat with tongs, and when cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch chunks. Discard bones and fat (from stew), return meat to pot, and re-heat over medium. Stir in dill. I skipped all of this. I cut the meat off the bones and into BIG chunks in the pot and served it. We were quite hungry.

I hope this doesn’t seem intimidating. Just make sure you either invite some friends over, or have a good book to read. Or some good TV to watch.


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September 2009
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