(Adapted from http://crispybeef.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipe-borscht-gourmet-style.html)

1 whole ox tail or 2 beef shanks
1 onion, cut into strips
1 tomato, chunked
2 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 carrot, peeled and chunked
2 celery stalks, chunked
1/2 of a white or red cabbage, cut into strips
2 bay leaves
small can of tomato paste
couple cloves of garlic
salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and other spices to taste

I had all the vegetables cut up the previous day because I had time. This was a good idea except in the case of the potatoes, which got a little brown. I guess a little lemon juice would have fixed that.

I start by scalding the shanks or tail, basically by cooking them in boiling water for about 5 minutes. This gets rid of the little bits and pieces that are stuck to the meat and bone. Also, if you don’t do this, you get a brown froth at the top of the soup which needs to be taken away later – I think it’s just the blood from the meat and marrow.

In the stock pot where I cook the soup, I sautee the onions and tomato in some olive oil and garlic, for about 5 minutes until the onions get translucent.
Then I add the rest of the veggies, the beef, and about 20 cups of water, and turn the heat up high to boil. Once it’s boiling nicely, I cover and turn the heat down to about medium.

I let it go at this high simmer for about three hours. At this point, it smells a lot like the beef and veggie soup at Hello (Miss) Saigon. But we’re making borscht, so I hit it up with a can of tomato paste to give it some colour and tanginess.
After adding the tomato paste, I let it simmer for another hour or so before adding some spices to taste. Anyway, here it is:

Tasty! I have to say that the shanks don’t give as much depth of flavour to the soup as an ox-tail would. The benefit to the shanks is that the meat is a lot more plentiful and easier to get to. However, the lack of oomph led me to hit this up with a little bit of hot sauce (sriracha!) to fill out the flavour.

Another Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/hong-kong-borscht-278418

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