Roasted Beet Birthday Borscht

Last fall I got a birthday request for borscht.

Since I aim to please, especially on birthdays, I bundled up in my coat and scarf and headed to the local farmers market. It was late October then and early March now so I post this because it's your last chance to get your hands on in season root veggies needed to make this incredibly yummy soup.

Also, because I'm featured in a contest at hosted by thefeedfeed and since you're only granted one vote, I'd be particularly honored if you hopped over there and clicked "VOTE" on this dish of mine. Just click this link here find the image of my soup (same as below) and click vote. Go on, pretend it's election day, elect me! 

I'm terribly excited to be a part of the competition, but who doesn't like to win?! Bonus point, just for voting you may win a copy of The Soup Club recipe book. I'm glad for your vote, so thank you in advance.

In addition to that, it's snowing again here in New York and I've got soup or carbs or pasta on the brain, it's comfort food weather out there. Hot borscht, a warm blanket, Netflix, fuzzy socks... oh... right, back on track. This borscht will warm you down to your toes and certainly fill your belly. If it doesn't warm you up you can always try it alongside a shot of vodka and see if that helps!

I didn't include meat in my borscht, though you certainly can, but I do make bone broth with beef bone or a piece of fatty chuck to loan depth and richness to the vegetable heavy soup. If you're using soup meat for the base, feel free to tear it up once it cools and add it back to the borscht around the same time you add the last round of beets. If you don't have rules for that allow for beef broth, no worries, exclude it from your stock base for a veggie broth instead.

As written this recipe can appear daunting but it's surprisingly easy and oh so worth it. I relished the leftovers and came home to them excitedly until I one day came home too late to have the last bowl. 

There are a few surprise ingredients in this dish, like cinnamon, lemon juice and the nearly raw garlic but they each have their place in making this soup come together. The lemon adds a tangy contrast to the sweetness of the the beets and it's a welcome addition. I start with about 1/4 of a cup of lemon juice for this amount of soup but start with less and taste until you you find just the right amount for your personal taste.

For the Bone Broth:
1/2 pound of fatty chuck roast or 2 to 3 lbs soup bones (or a combination)
4 quarts cold water
2 whole medium onions, peeled and stuck with 10-12 cloves each
2 large carrots, washed and unpeeled
2 large bay leaves
5-8 dried whole allspice 
half a cinnamon stick

For the soup:

6 medium to large beets
2 medium unpeeled turnips, grated
2 medium unpeeled parsnips, grated
4 peeled carrots, grated
1 large onion, chopped
2 sticks of butter, for sautéing
2 tbsps tomato paste
1/2 a head of garlic, peeled and minced
lemon juice, to taste
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh dill
New or Dill pickles
Fresh sour cream or creme fraiche 

In a large soup pot add 4 qts of water and bring to a boil. Add all vegetables and spices, return to boil and lower the heat. Simmer bone broth for at least 3 hours or until the meat is tender and the broth reduced by about a quarter. 

Wrap the beets individually in foil packets and stab joyfully all over with a fork to release steam while they bake for 1 hour or until fork tender. Remove and allow to cool.

Grate the carrots, parsnips, turnips and chop the remaining onion.

In a large saucepan melt two sticks of butter and sauté the grated vegetables. When the vegetables are just about soft and onions nearly translucent, add two tablespoons of tomato paste and mix well. Remove from heat.

When beets are completely cool peel them while running them under warm water, rubbing gently to remove their skins and then grate into a separate bowl. 

The bone broth should be passed through a fine mesh strainer and all ingredients discarded. If you'd prefer you can degrease your broth by putting it in the refrigerator overnight and skimming the fat in the morning. Add six cups of the bone broth to the sautéed veggies along with 3/4 of the grated beets, allow to simmer for about an hour before adding more broth as needed until your desired consistency is reached. 

To finish the soup, add the remaining beets and their juice to add an additional jolt to the color of your soup just before serving. Lemon juice, black pepper and salt should be added to taste. Add the chopped garlic and simmer for another 15 minutes before serving.

Top with a creamy dollop of homemade sour cream, fresh pickles and fresh dill.

Oh and don't be shocked when your hands look like this after grating beets, it's great for pranks and washes off after a good hot rinse. If you'd like to avoid it, there are always gloves! But where's the fun in that?

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