Winter Borscht

One of my most favorite dishes from childhood was something my mother called cabbage soup. This in no way resembled the anemic diet cabbage soup that seems prevalent today. In looking up recipes for it I came across entries for something called winter borscht which seemed to have most of the ingredients my mother used. Because it contained beets and cabbage, two vegetables that Bob hated even the mention of, I never attempted to make it during our 40 years of marriage. A few years ago, reminiscing about food with a grandmotherly Russian manicurist I was inspired to attempt it. I generally take all the ingredients except the lemon juice and dill, put them in the largest pot I can find, bring to a boil and then simmer for hours. This really is better the next day so I have been known to wait until the day after it is made to eat it. I made a big pot and we had it with some biscuits. Plenty for dinner the next night, lunch and a small container for a neighbor.

This is basically the list of ingredients since the only steps is to put it in a very large pot an cook. For hours. I like to brown the meat and bones first but this is not essential. I put them on a foil lined pan and place in an oven preheated to about 425. If I remember, I will turn it all over after about 15 or 20 minutes and roast for another 5 or 10 minutes. This is also the way I brown any meat that I am using for stew when the first step often seems to be"Brown the meat in a casserole a few pieces at a time making sure they don't touch."

1 head of cabbage, not too big, sliced thinly. I have only used green cabbage but think red cabbage might be interesting.

3 or 4 fresh beets, peeled and diced. This is probably the hardest part of making the soup but it is worth it.

28 ounce can of whole peeled plum tomatoes

About 3 to 6 carrots peeled and sliced. Use as many as you like, or none at all.

Beef. My mother used what was called flanken back in the day. Now known as Korean short ribs. You can also use regular short ribs

Beef or Veal bones if you can find them

I also put in some extra chuck steak, usually in one piece.

Water to fill the pot, salt and pepper

After soup is cooked I cut the meat into smaller pieces and add some lemon juice and chopped dill to taste.

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