Buffalo Borscht

When I was growing up, borscht was this red soup made from beets that came in a bottle. You poured it in a bowl, plopped some sour cream in the middle, and ate. But recently I discovered that there is a whole different kind of borscht, which is a sweet and sour cabbage soup. It tastes like my mother’s stuffed cabbage, one of the favorite foods of my youth, which she only made for special occasions. Actually, I remember liking the cabbage and the sauce better than the filling.

To make borscht, you cook meat to make a broth, then add the other ingredients. The meat typically was flanken, a cut of beef (short ribs) that appears to consist of bone, gristle, and fat, Clearly, this had to be updated. So get out the soup pot.

Buffalo Borscht (Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup)

Cooking spray
1 1/2 pound buffalo roast, trimmed of all visible fat and cut in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces (I used bottom round)
1 large onion, coarsely diced
2 quarts of water
3 14 ounce cans of chopped tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large head of cabbage, cored and shredded

Spray the bottom of the soup pot with cooking spray. Brown the buffalo pieces, stirring occasionally. Be sure they get nice and brown to make a rich broth. When the meat is browned, add the 2 quarts of water. Stir so that all the browned bits on the bottom are mixed in the broth. Add the onion. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring once or twice. Stir in the tomatoes, lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt. Allow to simmer while you shred the cabbage. I cut the cabbage in eighths lengthwise, and then cut it in half inch slices across. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings to your own sense of sweet and sourness. You’ll probably have to adjust it again after the cabbage cooks. Add the cabbage and stir well. Simmer for another 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings (lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt) at the end of the cooking. I usually put soup in the refrigerator overnight to remove the fat, but when I did, there was absolutely no fat on the soup surface. It is hard to estimate the number of servings for this soup – it makes a lot. I estimate a 2 cup serving to be 2 grams of fat. Serve hot (it reheats very well) And yes, you can plop a dollop of fat free sour cream on it.

Variation: Some people add diced carrots, celery, or even beets to this.  I don’t. I like my cabbage straight up.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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