1 pound boneless beef chuck
1 beef marrow bone
l1/2 pounds pork spareribs
2 onions, in all
1 carrot, in all
1 parsley root, in all
2 ounces celery root, in all
1 teaspoon salt plus additional salt to taste
3 medium beets
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 head cabbage
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 pound boiled ham, cut into 1/2-inch dice, or 2 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/2-inch dice and sauteed until golden brown
1/2cup dried white beans, soaked for 2 hours in un- salted cold water to cover and cooked in the same water for 2 hours, or until tender (optional)
½ cup fresh mushrooms, washed, sliced, and cooked for 10 minutes in lightly salted water, then drained (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press or finely chopped
6 teaspoons sour cream
Place the beef, marrow bone, spareribs, 1 onion, 1/2 carrot, 1/2 parsley root, and 1 ounce celery root in a 4- to 5-quart pot. Add 21/2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoonful of salt, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for about 1 hour, or until the beef is tender. Remove the meat, put in a bowl, cover, and reserve. Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables, and skim off all the fat. Add salt if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 300°F, then bake the beets for 40 minutes, or until tender. Let them cool, then peel and shred on a coarse grater. Set aside. Cut into thin strips the remaining halves of the carrot and parsley and celery roots, and the remaining onion. In a heavy skillet, saute the vegetables in the butter for 15 minutes, stirring often. Halve the tomatoes and grate on a coarse grater so that the peel is left in your hand and can be discarded.
Peel the potatoes and cut each into 6 cubes. Remove the core from the cabbage and cut the leaves into 1-inch squares. Bring the meat stock to a boil, add the potatoes and black pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the sauteed vegetables, beets, tomatoes, tomato paste, and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for salt, add the ham, cooked beans, and mushrooms, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
While the vegetables are cooking, cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Add the meat, parsley, dill, and garlic to the soup. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve the borscht in a warmed tureen-it will smell so good that the aroma can serve as an appetizer. Pass a bowl of sour cream as garnish.
Variation: Vegetarian Borscht
Make Ukrainian Borscht, omitting the meat and bones from the stock. Cook the stock for 40 minutes, strain the broth, and discard the vegetables. Continue with the recipe, omitting the ham from the final addition of ingredients.