Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recipe for a Cold Day - Winter Borscht with Brisket by Anya Von Bremzen

In Dr. Fowler's Empire! Power! Culture! Introduction to Russian, E. European, and Eurasian Studies class, we read Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by renowned food blogger and chef Anya Von Bremzen.

My mother is coming to town all the way from Reno, NV on December 2 and staying until the 17. I'm the cook in my family and my mom is looking forward to spending a lot of time in the kitchen with me while she's staying with us. I want to introduce her to some Russian cuisine and I'm already planning on making pel'meni.

My mom is hoping for warm weather but if we have more freezing days like we've had this week, I'm also going to employ this recipe by Anya Von Bremzen, from Food & Wine:

Winter Borscht with Brisket

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 10

  1. 3 pounds lean beef brisket, trimmed of any fat
  2. 4 quarts plus 2 cups water
  3. 3 onions, 2 halved, 1 finely chopped
  4. 3 carrots, 2 halved, 1 coarsely shredded
  5. 1 parsnip, halved
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  8. Kosher salt
  9. 2 large beets (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
  10. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  11. 1 thick slice of meaty bacon
  12. 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  13. 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  14. 3 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  15. 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
  16. 1 medium Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  17. Freshly ground pepper
  18. 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  19. Pinch of sugar
  20. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  21. 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  22. Reduced-fat sour cream, chopped dill and sliced scallions, for serving
  1. Cut the brisket into 4 pieces and put them in a large soup pot. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming. Add the halved onions, halved carrots, parsnip, bay leaf, peppercorns and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the meat is just tender, about 3 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brisket to a cutting board and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Strain the broth into a bowl and discard the vegetables. Let the broth cool and skim off any fat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Wrap the beets individually in foil and bake for 1 hour, or until tender. Let cool slightly, then peel and coarsely grate them.
  3. Wipe out the soup pot, add the vegetable oil and heat. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and reserve for another use. Add the chopped onion, shredded carrot and green pepper and cook over moderate heat until just softened, about 7 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes longer. Add the reserved broth, the potatoes, tomatoes, apple and brisket and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and simmer until the potatoes are barely tender, 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately low, add the beets and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes longer. Stir in the vinegar and sugar and season with salt.
  4. In a mortar, pound the garlic, parsley and 1 teaspoon of pepper to a paste; stir into the soup. Ladle the borscht into deep bowls and serve, passing the sour cream, dill and scallions at the table.

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