Um, yeah. Beets. I’m really not super into them.
I know. Almost everyone thinks I’m nuts. Is it one of those vegetables that everyone loves to hate, but actually really truly loves? Like brussels sprouts? I don’t know. I didn’t grow up with them, and their supersweet earthiness is just really weirdly offputting to me.
But the problem is, I keep getting beets in my CSA! So I’m trying to make the best of them. So far, I’ve made a beet-based veggie burger (pretty good!) and roasted beets (meh, but edible). But by far the best beet recipe I’ve tried my hand at has been borscht.
Another food I think gets a pretty bad rap. I mean, as if beets weren’t bad enough, beet SOUP?
The first time I had borscht was last year. It was my first time visiting my boyfriend in the city where he lived, and he took me to a little Ukrainian hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We had borscht for dinner, and it was smooth and sweet and earthy, and just deliciously creamy with some rich sour cream on top. I was pleasantly surprised.
So I’ve got a bunch of beets, we’re recovering from Snowpocalypse, and we’re in the midst of Olympics at Sochi? What better way to pay homage to this unique circumstance than some slow-cooker borscht? Because, you know, why stay home and watch a pot of food all day when you don’t have to?!
I’ve made a few slow-cooker soups, and I’m consistently re-convinced that the crock pot is best served using it for broths. It’s simply the best.
This was no exception. The bulk of the labor was simply prepping the ingredients. But then, you just throw everything in the slow cooker and let it sit!
We’ve got carrots, beets, potatoes, and beef. And no cabbage. So, you know, maybe you think that borscht isn’t borscht without the cabbage. In that case, this recipe ain’t for you. I’m more into it tasting good, first and foremost, and this does. Holy crap, does it ever! (Though, worth noting, The Boy has spent time in both Russia and Ukraine, and he tells me that this batch was, I quote, “Exactly as it should be.” Win!)
And, I gotta say, this is The Boy-approved! AND there’s another super-secret no-no ingredient: Mushrooms. He questioned it for a hot second, but I told him it was just a fatty piece of beef. MUAH HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! So, if he likes it, your picky eater will like it, too. Feel good about making, eating, and sharing this recipe. Chock-full of seasonal, inexpensive ingredients. Lots of vegetables…how could it NOT be phenommmm?
Whole ingredients. Delicious. And inexpensive! Are you ready for slow-cooker borscht?
Okay. Without further ado….
• 1.5 pounds stew beef
• 1.5 pounds beets, peeled and diced (about 1 bunch of beets)
• 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
• 2 sweet yellow onions
• 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 pound)
• 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
• 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
• Juice from 1/2 lemon
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or honey/agave/brown sugar, etc.)
• 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed + more for serving
• 2 teaspoons sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
• 4 cups water
• Plain Greek yogurt for serving (optional)
Soak dried porcini mushrooms in hot water for about 15 minutes. Strain water into the slow cooker, and rough chop mushrooms. While mushrooms soak, prep vegetables. Put all ingredients, except for Greek yogurt, in slow cooker.
Set slow cooker to HIGH for about 4 hours, and then continue to cook on LOW for an additional 5 hours, or until vegetables are tender and stew beef is tender and cooked through.
Serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and fresh dill weed. Add hot sauce if you like it spicy!
Makes approximately 20 cups of borscht, giving you at least 10 entree-sized servings. Paleo friendly (omit yogurt and potato, if desired), and A-OK for WW peeps doing Simple Start/Simply Filling!
Oh, and PS. We had SO MUCH left over!! Look at my lunches for the next week:
PPS! Did you know that there’s a donate button to your right? If you use it, funds will go directly toward a pressure canner, so I can CAN all of these leftovers and not worry about my itty-bitty freezer.