Typically in my "Last American Baker" posts, I try to share the world of Klecko with you guys. If you read my last installment, you may recall that I've been housing a 26 year old Siberian woman who was my interpreter while I was in the Asiatic Arctic of Russia.
Several days ago we canvased the entire Twin Cities pulling together the ingredients that would be necessary to pull off this masterpiece. that evening when the cooking portion was complete, I posted photos on my Facebook wall and several of you asked for the recipe.
Normally I would accompany this with with charm. clever musings and mass sex appeal, but today I had to bring my Siberean back to the airport so I kinda feel sad. You should know by now how sensitive Klecko can be.....but, none the less, life goes on and I suppose I should post this in case I get hit by a bus, or Facebook closes my account again!
( I will add a few old school notes for the purists, but there are short cuts for the Modern American)
Submitted for your approval -
Mosha's Siberian Borscht
#1 - Place 2 pounds of Lamb meat into your soup pot, fill it with water until the water is flush with the top of the piece of meat.Bring the pot to a boil, and when it reaches this point, reduce the heat to slightly above a minimal simmer, and keep it at this temp for 1 hour
* When selecting your lamb it is not desired to get ground lamb, only a savage would do this. We went to the butcher shop and purchaced a lamb shoulder. The smallest piece we could get was 4 1/2 pounds. The piece was frozen so the butcher cut it in half with his band saw and as we speak....the other half is in my freezer. Lamb shoulder is nice because typically it does not contain a lot of fat.
#2 - When the hour has become complete, add 5 red potato diced and 1 pint of grated cabbage and grated carrots.Let it simmer for 10 minutes
* If your are old school and want to make the USSR version, you can make what is called "Salt Cabbage". The do this, meassure out the pint of shredded cabbage and shredded carrot and then toss in a small ammount of caraway seed and about a tsp of salt.
Place your hands into the ingredients, mix them around, and use your hands to squish the ingredients. Let the juices flow out.
Then put the mixture into a Tupperware bowl, but don't put a lid over it....cover it with a plastic bag. The mixture must sit out at room temp for a minimum of 2 days, but should not excced 3 days.
#3 - Now we will sautee. First we will use one white onion. It is better if it is bigger than medium, but smaller than large. Siberians dice this very-very small. Sautee in oil untill golden color and then toss them into the soup pot.
#4 - Remove Lamb meat and place onto a plate or platter
#5 - Now we will shred/grate or cut one good sized beet and sautee it. We are not looking for a color to tell us when the beet is done, we are looking for a texture. Basically you want the shredded beats to be soft. Place this into the soup pot and continue simmering.
#6 - Now you will add salt and pepper to taste
* It is my understanding that pepper is the one ingredient that differs the most amongst Russian opinion.
#7 - Add 1 bay leaf
#8 - Cut 2 cups of fresh parsley very fine, throw 1 into the soup pot, and reserve the other
#9 - Cut 1/2 cup of fresh dill and throw into the soup pot
#10 - Toss a Tbsp of lemon juice into the soup pot
* Beets will turn white while they boil, it is good to add the lemon juice because it will help the borscht / beets retain their crimson color.
We went Old School and went to the Kiev (a Russian Food store on West 7th street) and bought a paper envelope that contained "Lemon Citrid Acid". This is basically a a powdered form that looks like Pop Rocks.
Mosha says she prefers the Lemon Juice, but in Siberia.....real lemons are hard to come by.
#11 - chop the boiled Lamb meat into cubes and return them into your soup pot. Simmer 10 more minutes.
#12 - Ladle the borscht into indavidual bowls, the place a dollop of sour cream into the middle, then sprinkle the reserve parsely on top.
#13 - Add a nice black bread or rye on the side and you will have a real Siberean experience.
* Notes - I have always made an Ukrainian borscht in the past, it was thicker in meat and veggies, the stirring spoon could be inserted into the pot and stand errect, however...the Siberean and a crisper flavor and more broth, unlike the Ukrainian....it really is more of a soup than a stew.