Borscht!

Farmer Ted Blomgren from from Windflower Farm, sent the following letter in my winter CSA box for the month of January…

Yesterday, Jan and I harvested scallions from the unheated greenhouse, and bagged root crops, including carrots, parsnips and beets… The scallions were the first we’d ever grown during the winter. Next year, we’ll plant earlier so that they’ll be bigger. Still, we’re happy to be able to send them… Pete Charro, who provided much of our summer fruit share, said he had stored some of his ‘Red Delicious’ apples and that he’d even put them in a bag for us…. Your share will also include winter squash, yellow onions, and a head of green cabbage. You’ll have most of the makings for borscht….Today we harvested arugula and a salad mix. The January thaw has arrived just in time to ease our work… Your salad mix will include ‘Red Saladbowl’ lettuce, baby tatsoi, mizuna, and kale, and ‘Yukina Savoy’ and ‘Tokyo Bekana’ hearts.

I have never made borscht before. Despite new favorite recipes for beet chocolate cake and chipotle beet soup, I found some lamb shoulder in my freezer and decided to give it shot.

Here is a recipe from epicurious.com that is pretty close to what I made, which I will say was delicious with a dollop of sour cream. I improvised a bit with another recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook: Instead of making the beef stock from ribs, I cut up the lamb (you could use beef too, about 2 lbs.) into 1″ cubes and browned the meat. Then add a quart of beef, or some other type of stock and water (totaling 12 cups) and bring to a boil. Simmer the beef for about 1-1 1/2 hours (while beets roast) until tender, then proceed to the next step of the recipe.

Also, for more to do with winter cabbage, check out this great article on winter cabbage salad, by Mark Bittman at nytimes.com.

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