Eat your beets.
I don’t think I’ll give this recipe a ton of introduction. I’ll just say that I really like beets and have been cooking with them quite a bit in the last year. I made this stew recently, a huge vat of it, and it provided Brandon and me with nearly a full week of food. It’s hearty and vegetable-y and flavorful. Admittedly, it’s probably a far better cold weather dish than a bagizzillion degree weather dish. But hey. Beets are in season. Why wait around?
This recipe is a fusion of this beet and cabbage stew recipe that I originally intended to make, this vegetarian borscht recipe that I tracked down once I realized the first recipe called for zero spices, and my general beet know-how.
- 3-4 large beets
- 2 lbs stew meat, cubed
- 2 24 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 cabbage
- 6 medium carrots
- 2 medium onions
- 6 celery stalks
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbs ground cumin
- 1 Tbs ground tumeric
- 1 Tbs ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 lemons (or to taste)
- ½ sugar (or to taste)
- Let’s start with those beets. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Chop off the stalks and save the greens for another use. Place each beet on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap tightly in the foil. Set the foil/beets packets in a baking dish and bake until the beets are easily pierced with a fork. For the larger beets, this will take some time, probably around 90 minutes, maybe more. Just check on them periodically. It’s better to let them go a little longer than to take them out too soon, as they get significantly easier to peel the more tender they are. Once they’re good and fork-pierce-able, take them out of the oven and let them cool until you can comfortably handle them. At that point, you should be able to push the skin right off with your thumbs. Wear gloves while you do this if you’re afraid of your hands turning fuchsia. I like to embrace the crazy red messiness and just get beet juice all over me, but you do what you like.
- While the beets are in the oven, start cooking the meat. In a large dutch oven, heat some oil and brown the meat. Add the crushed tomatoes and a similar quantity of water. Stir and bring to a strong simmer.
- While the meat and beets are cooking, get to work on prepping everything else. Chop the cabbage, carrots, onion, and celery. Mince the garlic. Squeeze the lemons. Measure out the spices and the sugar.
- After the meat has been simmering for between an hour and 90 minutes, add all of the vegetables (except the beets which are still in the oven) to the dutch oven.
- Add the cumin, tumeric, allspice, coriander, chili powder, cayenne, and salt. Mix well.
- Finish peeling and cubing the beets. When the simmering vegetables are soft, add the beets and stir well. Add lemon juice and sugar to taste. Cook for five more minutes, and it’s done!