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Dinner Tonight! | Second Helpings

Borscht, or How I Beet a Pot Roast

January 16, 2002|DIANE MORGAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Nothing satisfies more than an old-fashioned pot roast. For a family of four, I cook a 4-pound boneless beef chuck roast and have plenty left over for this hearty Eastern European-style soup.

Here's my favorite pot roast recipe. Rub the roast all over with a tablespoon each of dried thyme, crushed rosemary, paprika and coarse salt. Sprinkle it liberally with pepper, and let the roast sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Thinly slice 3 large onions and chop 6 cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat and add 1/2 cup of water to the pan, scrape up any brown bits using a wooden spatula, then return the meat to the pan. Top the meat with the onions and garlic, cover and braise for 11/2 hours in a 350-degree oven. Turn the meat over and braise 1 hour longer. Turn the meat once more and cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Slice and serve over mashed potatoes topped with some of the braised onions and broth. Add some glazed baby carrots to make this meal a cool-weather treat.

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Morgan is author of "The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create Your Own Holiday Tradition" (Chronicle Books, $18.95).

Bowl and table runner from Pier 1 Imports.

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Hot Beef Borscht

Active Work Time: 40 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 fennel bulb, stalks and bulb cut into 1/2-inch dice, feathery fronds chopped and reserved for garnish

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon pepper

3 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 small cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch dice

7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3/4 pound cooked pot roast, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and diced fennel and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Cover and cook until the vegetables are softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, caraway seeds and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beets, cabbage and broth and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer until the beets are tender, about 35 minutes.

Add the cubed beef to the pot and heat through. Add salt to taste. Ladle into warm soup bowls. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with the chopped fennel fronds.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 211 calories; 809 mg sodium; 54 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams protein; 1.80 gram fiber.

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