Summer is the best time to celebrate being a hunter and gatherer. Many hunters forage and grow gardens to complete the circle of self-sufficiency. There is a sense of satisfaction when preparing a meal from meat and vegetables you produced or harvested yourself.
Borscht originated in Ukraine and can have different ingredients regionally. Depending on what part of Europe you come from, borscht may have only vegetables. However, many Slavic countries add meat for flavor, texture and protein. Root vegetables—especially beets—are a staple of borscht and produce its telltale purple broth.
For many, borscht is a celebration of the garden's first beets, potatoes, onions and carrots. Traditional borscht includes cabbage, but sauerkraut is a great option. The vegetables can be cubed small or grated to increase surface area and flavor, and reduce cooking time. Ground venison is a great addition to borscht, but cubed or stewing meat also works for a more hardy bite.
Celebrate being a hunter and gatherer with a hearty pot of borscht, and don't forget to add meat.
- 1 ½ pounds of ground venison
- 12 cups of cold water
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 3 large beets, peeled and grated
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced small
- ½ head of small green cabbage, sliced thin or substitute with one 14-oz can sauerkraut, drained
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced, or substitute with one 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- Sour cream optional
- Dill optional
- Place a large stockpot over medium heat, and add the olive oil and onion. Sauté the onions for two minutes, then add the ground venison and salt. Stir and separate the meat until browned.
- Add water, vegetables, vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic and pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Maintain a slow simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot from a well-stirred pot to get a good mix in every scoop. Add a dollop of sour cream to the middle of the bowl and garnish with fresh dill.