Archive | 9:31 pm

Barley Borscht

29 Jul

The community I grew up in has a very large Russian immigrant presence in it, so I’m no stranger to borscht.  My first long term high-school boyfriend’s mom tried to feed me basically every time I came over, and borscht made a frequent appearance on the household menu.  The first time she put a bowl down in front of me, I remember thinking, “You are going to choke this down no matter how terrible it is.”  I hadn’t had much experience with beets, so I really didn’t know what to expect.  I wrinkled my nose, closed my eyes, and downed a spoonful.

And I liked it.  A lot.  I started to look forward to those days I would walk in the house and smell the earthy aroma of cabbage and beets that signaled it was a borscht day.  She served it both hot and cold, and I enjoyed both versions immensely.  There are a million different versions of borscht out there, and this one is an amalgamation of several based on what I had on hand and was economical.  This version was pumped up a notch of heartiness by leaving the beets in diced pieces and including some barley for a serving of grains.  Earthy, sweet, savory, homey, and delicious, this was everything a good borscht should be.

Barley Borscht

6 cups homemade chicken stock

1.3 lb. beef chuck neck bones

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 medium beets, peeled and diced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup cabbage, shredded (I shredded about half a cup very fine in the food processor and half a cup roughly by hand)

2 cups crushed canned tomatoes, with juice (I used my dad’s home canned tomatoes and they were deeeeeeelish)

3/4 cup barley

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Plain Greek yogurt, for serving

Place beef, chicken stock, and onion in a slow cooker.  Place on low and heat, covered, 8-10 hours.  Strain the broth and place the liquid back in the slow cooker.

Add beets, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, and barley to the slow cooker.  Raise heat of slower cooker to high and cover.  Cook about two hours until vegetables are tender and barley is cooked through.  Stir in dill and season to taste.

Can be served hot or cold.

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