2 hrs 20 mins
Makes:6 to 8 servings
Claimed by some to be the ultimate hangover cure, borscht is warming and satisfying. In this version, a rich beef broth is used as the base, making for a full-flavored yet light soup.
Special equipment: If you mind your hands turning red from beet juice, you may want to don plastic gloves before handling the veggies.
1 pound cubed beef stew meat
1 marrow bone or meaty beef bone
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 medium leek, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
12 whole black peppercorns
2 quarts water
6 medium red beets
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Combine beef, bone, garlic, carrot, celery, leek, bay leaf, peppercorns, and water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 2 hours.
Meanwhile place unpeeled beets in a separate saucepan, cover with water, and cook over medium heat until soft when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel and medium dice.
Strain beef mixture, reserving broth and discarding solids. Return broth to the pot and add beets and shredded cabbage. Cook until flavors meld, about 20 minutes more. Season with salt as needed, and serve in bowls garnished with minced dill and a dollop of sour cream.
Beverage pairing: Despite its beefy savoriness, this soup wants a white wine, specifically one that will play to the dill, cabbage, and beets. A fruity and herbaceous (yes they can coexist) Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand comes to mind, something powerful and uncompromising like the Villa Maria 2007, a beautifully balanced and intensely flavorful wine that will hold its own against the hearty soup.