Borscht PhotoIn my last CSA box we got a lot of beets. I look forward to beets once in awhile. I'm not the biggest fan of beets, however. What I am a fan of is borscht. And chocolate beet-cake, but we'll get to that later.

Borscht is delicious. Hearty. And super cheap to make. Basically you just need beets, cabbage, carrots, sausages (optional, but to me they make all the difference), and some tomato (diced, tomato paste, a little of both...). Shred, cook, bam - dinner. Delicous cold-killing dinner. (Our entire family came down with a nasty cold over the weekend. This was so simple to make that I still managed to whip it up on my sickest day.)

I loosely followed this recipe from
However, I did make some changes.
  1. I omit the potatoes - there's enough going on already
  2. More diced tomatoes - Why not use the whole can? Our cans are 28oz. I tried starting with just half the can, then thought "what the heck" and dumped the rest in
  3. Less tomato paste - Maybe because I'm using so much more diced tomatoes I felt it wasn't necessary. I started with about 2tblsp or so of paste, then added another 2 or so. (It's hard to gauge since I store it frozen and tube-shaped ... perhaps I'll demonstrate that in another article -- but I used 4 "slices" which are about a tbsp each, maybe less.)

  • Sausage (about a pound)
  • Cabbage (about half a head)
  • Beets (3 should be fine)
  • Carrots (again, 3 is good)
  • Garlic (yes, 3)
  • Onion
  • Tomato Paste
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
Basically this recipe is just a throw-everything-in-the-pot and simmer. But in case you'd prefer order over chaos, here's what I did. First, brown the sausage in a big stock pot. Add onions, cook 'til tender. Add diced tomatoes and water (at least another can-ful). Shred carrots and beets, add to pot. Make sure there's enough water to cover. Cover and simmer until the beets and carrots are soft. Add garlic and tomato paste. Simmer a little more. Add shredded cabbage, cover and simmer until soft. Taste it! Add more t.paste or whatever else you think it needs. Add about 2tbsp of vinegar for a little tang. Don't forget your salt and pepper! Serve this hot with a big dollop of sour cream (optional, but delicious).

This makes a really big batch. It easily fed our family of four. We had some for dinner, a little leftovers for lunch, and still had enough to freeze for another dinner.

I really hope you give this a try. It's somewhat simple, fairly fool-proof, and definitely delicious.

Cost Analysis

Sausage           $2.50
Beets               $0.83
Carrots            $0.18
Cabbage          $1.03
Diced Tomato  $0.89
Tomato Paste   $0.50
Onion              $0.07
Garlic              $0.03
Vinegar            $0.02
Total:                        $6.05
(8-12 servings)

(This price breakdown is based on my most recent purchases of these items or for CSA vegetables on sale prices in store:
 $10 for a large bag of frozen sausages using 1 pack out of 4 for $2.50, beets and carrots I'll estimate using 1lb even though I'm sure it was less - 3lbs of beet can be found for $2.50 or less, I last bought a 10lb bag of carrots for $1.88,  I buy cabbage at .69/lb and this recipe uses about a pound but just in case and to account for the giant stem that doesn't get used I will estimate for 1.5 pounds, onion I will estimate at a max of 6oz and the last time I bought onions outside the CSA was for $1.88 for 10lbs, the garlic I used was a gift but a pack of 3 costs less than $1 and each head contains at least 12 cloves, a liter of vinegar is $1 and there are at least 67 tbsp in a liter. I did not calculate the sour cream, it is entirely optional.... but delicious).

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