Hearty Venison Borscht
I have to admit, I was initially a bit of a borscht skeptic. Though I enjoy beets, I assumed that a stew with such a high proportion of them would be too beet-y, drowning out any other flavors. I’m very glad to be so wrong! Venison borscht is a perfect dish for March in Western Pennsylvania- hearty and satisfying to warm you on those blustery early Spring days spent prepping the garden, but also tangy and refreshing which is something I crave after months of rich Winter meals. If you don’t have venison or beef on hand, this borscht would also be delicious with just the other ingredients listed, or with a substitute of sturdy mushrooms like shiitake.
- 1 venison shank or other roast cut
- 3-4 large beets
- 3-4 carrots
- 3-4 medium potatoes
- 2 cups thinly sliced red or green cabbage
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sherry
- venison/game stock substitute beef or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup dill plus more for garnish
- sour cream optional
- Brown the roast in oil or tallow on all sides in a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat.
- Lower the heat to medium and add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and stir until mixed well with the onions and garlic.
- Pour in sherry to deglaze the pan, then add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer.
- Let the roast cook for 1-2 hours, until the meat is tender and pulls away from the bone easily.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Peel and chop the beets, carrots and potatoes into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and toss in oil and salt to coat. Spread on a baking pan and roast until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Once the meat is tender and slips easily from the bone, pull it out of the pot and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces, then return to the liquid along with the roasted vegetables, sliced cabbage, and 1/2 cup of chopped dill.
- Let simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until cabbage is tender. Taste and add a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. This soup is excellent now but will be even better the next day once the flavors have mingled more. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and more dill.