So guess what today is? Yup, college graduation.
Last night I went to a Ben Folds concert and then grabbed a chimichanga at Beto's with some friends after midnight (biggest mistake of the week). Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they're entering a third world country when they go into Beto's? Every time I go I feel like I might need my passport to get back out. Two summers ago my friend and I had a two week training for work in Salt Lake and we ate at the Beto's just across the street every day. We always loved it, and then regretted it later that night, ifyouknowwhatImean. Anyway, so after I woke up this morning and spent the next 30 minutes or so sorting through the Big Beto's Blunder of 2008 from just 8 hours before (nuff said about that!), I panicked and decided to make Borsch, wondering once again why I don't make it more often. I will get a bit braggy here; I make the world's best borsch, and I've decided to share my secrets today in this blog. BTW, today's borsch was my all time best!
This makes way way way too much. But I'm always glad I did.
-About 5 red potatoes
-Two cans of pinto beans
-3-4 Medium-sized beets
-About 4 medium-sized carrots
-One large red onion
-Pork, chicken, or beef
-3-4 cartons of chicken stock (even if you're not cooking with chicken--just trust me)
-1/2 a head of green or purple cabbage
-1 can of tomato paste
The first thing you want to do is get the meat cooking. Put a little oil and stock in your pot, just enough to almost cover the meat, and let it start cooking on a low heat. I usually put in a couple of garlic cloves and some salt at this point, too. Then peel the potatoes (unless they are red skin) and chop them into small squares. Once the meat is mostly cooked, fill the pot about half-way with the stock and get it boiling. Throw the potatos in (I usually have to do two pots unless I have a really really big one). You want to get the potatoes boiling first because they need to be really soft by the end.
Then peel the carrots and beets and grate them separately with a cheese grater (I usually remember why I don't make this very often when I grate the beets because it is a pain!!!). Then chop up the onion and carmelize it. Once the onion is carmelized, add the carrot shreds to the onion and a little stock for moisture. Stir and let cook for about 5-10 minutes. The carrot shreds should become very limp.
At this point you'll want to chop up about 1/3 to 1/2 a head of cabbage in small skinny strips and throw that in with the potatoes which should be soft enough that they almost fall right off a fork. You can throw the beans in at this point, too.
Now the trick: then throw the beet shreds into a frying pan with a little oil and the tomato paste (sometimes I do this with out the tomato paste). After the beets cook for about 8 minutes, mix it with the carrots. It should be a deep red in the frying pan (and it smells SO good). Let them cook together for about another 5 minutes. I will often throw a couple of garlic cloves into this part as well. I know that sounds weird but I swear it makes a difference and I've been told by a culinary arts major who shall remain nameless that it makes sense. And Kalli knows what she's talking about; she's an amazing cook. Oops.
Now the magical part: Pour the carrots, onion and beet into the pot and stir it around and watch your borsch turn a beautiful deep deep red. If your borsch is more orange, you did not put enough beets in it. Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes while you add garlic, salt, and any other herbs and spices you like.
Borsch is served best with sour cream and bread and butter.
Now, some of you threw up in your mouths every time I typed the word "beets" but I'm here today to tell you that you need to give this a try. I have always HATED beets but it is totally different in borsch. Borsch is the most fabulous thing that has ever crossed my tongue, including cheesecake (don't tell cheesecake that I said that). I could eat it every day and I've yet to make it for someone who has not absolutely loved it. (If anyone has had it, you can please back me up in the comments of this post).
If anyone needs help or has any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
~It Just Gets Stranger