This recipe took me a while to perfect. After living in Sitka, Alaska for a year – a town with Russian origins – and never trying the Russian borscht, I finally relented on a visit back some years ago.
I loved it so much I had my then boyfriend (now husband) drop me off in front of the Bayview on Crescent Harbor each day thereafter so I could go in and grab a bowl to go. By the time our visit was over, I was determined to duplicate this recipe at home.
After much trial and error (there are as many recipes for borscht as there are leftover vegetables in any given refrigerator), I was able to find a recipe that was close enough to allow me to tweak it to reach a close proximation of the recipe I experienced in Sitka. To me, the key is the diced tomatoes!
Sitka Russian Borscht
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. russet potatoes (peeled & chopped)
2 1/2 c chopped green cabbage (1/4 head)
1 onion (chopped)
8 cups vegetable broth (or half and half chicken & veggie broth)
6 beets (peeled & chopped)
1 c drained diced or chopped tomatoes
1 lb. stew meat
fresh dill (to taste)
Heat oil in large pot over medium to high heat. Cut stew meat into small pieces and brown in olive oil. Put meat to the side. Add potatoes, cabbage and onion to oil (add a little more oil if needed). Saute until cabbage is soft (around 5 minutes). Add 8 cups broth, beets and tomatoes. Sprinkle with dill to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, and add stew meat. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender (approx. 20 more minutes). Season with salt and pepper and top with sour cream.