Ukranian Borscht Meat/ Lamb Stew With Beetroots And Vegetables
This hearty and nutritious Borscht style Mutton / Meat Stew With Beetroots And Vegetables is next in our series of Monsoon special soul stirring curries and stews.
Beetroots are not a fabulous and favourite vegetable in my home, but they are nutrient dense and super healthy vegetable. And that is the reason beetroots keep appearing in my table form time to time in salads, as beetroot sauce, as beetroot chocolate brownies and in soups like this Russian style borscht soup (vegetarian version) that I had tried years ago and fell in love with this unique soup.
What is a Borscht?
Borscht is an ancient Slavic word for beetroot and this beetroot soup or stew has its origin in Ukraine and is enjoyed through out Russia and in other Eastern European and Slavic countries.
The dominant flavour in borscht is undoubtedly the sweet earthy flavours of beetroots and this is not enjoyable and delightful to many. Hence to make the borscht right or perfect, this earthy taste of beetroots need to be balanced out perfectly. And here the sour element of the soup comes into the picture in form of tomatoes, lime juices or vinegar.
However it would be interesting to note that borscht is basically in its original form is a soup made from fermented beetroot juice.
Fermented food and the process of making fermented foods at home which was once the charm of our old fashioned lives are slowly dying out in the wake of modern day conventions and lifestyles. But I still hope for the sake of keeping alive the cultural ethnicity and the forgotten cuisines, these needs to be preserved well and should be cherished.
How Do I Like My Borscht Meat Stew To Be?
I like borscht meat stew with beetroots as a clear soup. Hence when I tried the grated beetroots in the soup it did not went down too well with me. Sine then I am making borscht and its derivatives as clear soup with chopped beetroots in it.
Cabbage is another important vegetable in borscht and unfailingly every borscht irrespective of the region it hails from, will feature a variety of cabbage in the soup. I do like clear soups with cabbage but then my kid gives me a rough time having this soup with cabbage. So I have to keep the cabbage out of this soup too.
Next comes the vegetables like turnips, carrots and potatoes that adds some body to the soup and also amped up the nutrition profile of the soup too.
Borscht is invariably flavoured by dill leaves. Dill is a very strong flavour for someone who are not accustomed to it. Too much dill in the soup can also make your experience an unpleasant one. Moreover dill is not regular in my kitchen pantry. So whenever I had it, I use it, else I skip this too.
Since I love my borscht to be little on watery side like clear soup, adding sour cream to serve the borscht was never on my list. But if you like a thick borscht you can add sour cream to serve it.
Do You Like Beetroots Soups / Beetroot Meat Stews?
We love beetroot in soups and stews at home. My go to recipe of a regular beetroot soup is where I use a combination of beetroot, carrots and tomatoes with a drizzle of fresh lime juice at the end, and make it little watery to suit our taste. Tomatoes cut down the earthiness of the beetroot very nicely and complement the flavour so well.
Cooking meats and beetroots is common in many parts of the world as curries or as stews. A tried and tasted way to enhance and enjoy this blissful marriage of meats with beetroot. Like this Chukandar Gosht – an Indian Mutton Curry With Beetroots.
This time I made a similar stew, whereby lean meat cuts are stewed with beetroots, potatoes, turnips and carrots. But this stew is heavily inspired from borscht. And I must say we totally loved this version too.
What You Will Need To Make Borscht Meat Stew?
To make borscht meat stew with beetroots, you will need:
Lean cuts of meats – in India we prefer goat meat over lamb meat. You can use any meat of your choice but lean and fat trimmed cuts goes well in a stew.
Vegetables – beetroots, carrots, potatoes, turnips. All are diced but kept the potatoes bit chunkier. This will go for slow cooking process and if potatoes becomes mushy it will release all its starch into the stew, making it thicker and will change the texture of the stew. This stew is without the cabbage.
Flavours – onions, garlic and celery is staple in this stew. I have used ginger too. Tomatoes are usually added as paste. But I have chopped them and they get mixed nicely into the stew. The stew is flavoured by bay leaves, cumin powder, paprika powder and whole spices like black and white peppercorns, mace (I love flavour of mace in a mutton) and cinnamon. You can use allspice too.
Vinegar – vinegar is generally added in the borscht as souring agent. I have tried both red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar both in this stew. Both are good here, but I personally prefers the red wine vinegar here.
Borscht Style Mutton Stew With Beetroots And Vegetables
- 500 gm Lean Meat (have used lean goat meat with fat trimmed out)
- 2 cups Beetroots, diced
- 2 Carrots, diced
- 1 Turnip, diced
- 1 Potato , big cut into chunks
- 1 Onion big, diced
- 2-3 tbsp Garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk Celery, diced
- 1 tbsp Ginger, minced
- 1 Tomatoes, big chopped finely
- 4 cups Meat broth / stock (You can use water too)
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp Black peppercorn and white peppercorn mix
- Few cloves, cinnamon 1 and mace 1
- 1 tbsp Cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Paprika Powder
- Salt and sugar as per taste
- 3 tbsp Cooking oil + butter (little)
- ½ cup Red wine vinegar / cider vinegar
- Wash and clean the meat properly. Rub salt and little bit of spices over the meat and keep it aside for 20 min.Wash and clean all the vegetables and prepare them as per the given instructions.
- Heat some oil and little bit of butter and tip in the garlic first, followed by the whole spices like peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, mace. Fry for couple of minutes.
- Add the onions, celery, ginger and fry for 5 minutes till the onions become soft and translucent. Add the meat pieces and fry on high till the meat pieces are uniformly browned on all sides.
- Add all the vegetables and fry along with meat on medium heat, add the spices, bay leaves, salt and sugar and mix everything well. Add the chopped tomatoes and keep on cooking it for 5 more minutes.
- Add the meat broth or stock. You can use water too. Mix, cover the lid and let it cook on medium low for 1 hour or until the meat is soft and tender.
- Adjust the seasonings . Stir in the red wine vinegar and cook on low for another 5 minute.
- Serve this borscht style mutton stew with bread of your choice.