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The hands of Babushka-grannies throughout time have been stained red from the battle of the borscht. The global rift of beet soup has been growing for a thousand and one years. The Russians cry for meat. The Ukranians demand tomatoes. The Americans scream for sour cream. The one thing that unites them all is the humble red beet. Open your heart to a world of possibilities and help create a borderless planet of peace and harmony for the great borscht.
12 slices bacon, chopped
1 bottle dark beer
1 red onion, diced
1 red cabbage cut into one-inch chunks
5 beets, peeled and diced
15 lil’ fingerling potatoes
1L beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
500 ml sour cream
Get the biggest pot you have. At least 4 L capacity.
To render the fat from the bacon, put it in a large cold pot with a good splash of cold water. Put the pot on the element then turn it up to medium high heat. As the water heats up it will start to melt the bacon fat, drawing it from the bacon. When the water evaporates the bacon will be crispy and the fat will be in the pan. Remove the crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and put it on some paper towel for garnishing later. Drain all but 2 tbsp of the fat out of the pot into an old can, not down the drain.
Saute the onions in the bacon fat on medium/low heat until they become translucent.
Crank the heat all the way up and add the whole bottle of beer and beat back the foamy uprising with your wooden spoon. Then use the spoon to loosen up all the crunchy stuck-on bacon crusties on the pot.
Now just giver willy-nilly. Pile in the potatoes, beets and cabbage. Pour in the beef stock and fill with water until it covers the top of the veggie pile. Crank it until it boils, give it a quick stir, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover it and cook for at least 30 minutes. Stir it every couple of minutes, but don’t rough up the potatoes.
Before you serve, add the zest and juice from one lemon, a whack of chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste.
Slop it in a bowl, garnish it with a gloop of sour cream and top it with the crispy bacon bits. Grab a slab of bread and butta.
STIRRING THE POT
Update your traditional borscht with a variety of fresh veggies ranging from beans, cabbage (red and green),carrots, potatoes, tomatoes… even cucumber. The meat options can include beef, pork, chicken or any kind of sausage. Add some flava flav with rosemary, caraway seed, fennel seed, juniper berries, dill or garlic.
No matter how often I eat beets, I am constantly alarmed the next day to discover that I am urinating blood…or so it seems. The dye in beets gives your urine a faint red tint and may come as a shock if you are not expecting it. You’ve been warned.
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