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Thursday, May 3, 2012
Russian Red Borscht with Beef Shank
A good healthy Russian meal for building strength after a long hard cold winter!
There are many great regional borscht recipes in the Ukraine and Russia! I have posted a few borscht recipes and Russian recipes in my blog, so far. More will be on the way.
For those in the western world, there is far more to Russian cuisine than the media presents. My readers in Russia already know that this is true, just like they know that Americans do not eat hamburgers for every meal. On second thought, there are some Americans that do eat burgers for every meal! Ha! Ha!
Borscht recipes can vary from region to region in Russia and the Ukraine. Borscht recipes can vary within each region. Borscht recipes can vary from home to home in a neighborhood. One great thing about borscht, is that there is no end to the variety of borscht recipes.
A red borscht is just that! A red colored borscht. Red beets, tomato and paprika can turn a borscht red in color. Many borscht recipes have no tomato. Pre-colombian traditional borscht recipes have no tomato at all. I rarely put tomato in my borscht recipes, but it does add good nutritional value.
Beef is sometimes served in borscht. Beef shanks are commonly the chosen cut of beef. The beef shank is seared, till it becomes thoroughly browned, so the flavor increases and so a dark rich broth can be formed in the pot. Most often, the meat is cut off of the beef shank after it is cooked. The beef shank meat is cut into large bite size pieces and then added to the borscht.
An older more rustic approach to adding a beef shank to a borscht is to score the the cooked beef shank meet. Crosscheck slices that are only cut halfway through the cooked beef shank meat will allow the tough meat to become tender faster, just like cutting the meat into pieces. By just scoring the meat, the beef shank retains its original shape with the bone attached. Some people like to see a whole beef shank in the borscht, because the bone marrow is a delicacy that is looked forward to.
A whole beef shank takes a very long time to become tender. A beef shank that is scored with crosscheck slashes takes about half the time to become tender. Money is saved on fuel for the cooking fire, when using this method.
Beets and cabbage are required in most borscht recipes. Varying amounts of potato, carrot, celery and onion can be part of the recipe. Some borschts have very little seasoning, but a subtle amount of spices is nice in a borscht.
This Russian Red Borscht with Beef Shank recipe has a nice subtle spice flavor. That flavor adds to the comfort of this tasty borscht recipe!
Russian Red Borscht with Beef Shank Recipe:
Heat a small soup pot over medium heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Add a 6 to 9 ounce beef shank.
Sear the beef shank on both sides, till it is thoroughly browned.
Remove the beef shank from the pot and set it aside.
Add 1 small handful of short lengths of julienne sliced onion.
Add 1 small handful of short thick sliced carrot sticks.
Saute till the onions start to turn clear.
Add 1 large handful of thin sliced savoy cabbage.
Saute till the cabbage becomes wilted and till the cabbage starts to turn clear in color.
Add 2 cups of water.
Cut slices through the meat on the beef shank, but only cut halfway through the meat. Space the slashes about 1/2" apart. Cut the slices in a criss-cross pattern. (crosscheck)
Return the crosschecked seared beef shank to the pot.
Add 1 large handful of thick red beet strips that are cut in short lengths.
Add 1 peeled seeded canned Roma tomato and the juice that the tomato was packed in. (About 1 1/2 tablespoons of the tomato juice from the can is plenty.)
Add 3 large pieces of peeled russet potato. (The potato pieces should be larger than bite size pieces.)
Add enough water to cover the beef shank with 1/4" of extra water.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 2 pinches of cinnamon.
Add 1 pinch of allspice.
Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seed.
Add 4 pinches of Hungarian paprika.
Partially cover the pot with a loose fitting lid.
Simmer till the vegetables and beef shank become tender. (About 30 to 45 minutes)
Group the potatoes in the back half of a large shallow soup bowl.
Spoon the vegetables and broth onto the bowl.
Place the beef shank in the center of the bowl.
Garnish with a sprig oa a green leafy herb of your choice.
Serve with a small bowl of sour cream on the side.
What? No meat or vegetable stock? If the beef shank is thoroughly browned, then the brown fond (suc) on the bottom of the pan will flavor the water to create a broth! The dark brown beef shank and bone marrow will also give the broth a rich flavor. This is a great tasting old fashioned red borscht with beef shank entree! ... Shawna