This robust national soup of Ukraine almost qualifies as a stew. It's a bit labor-intensive but well worth the time and effort. Serve it with lots of buttered dark Russian pumpernickel.
2 smoked ham hocks
1 pound boneless chuck, rump, or bottom round,
trimmed of fat
2 beef bouillon cubes
Bouquet garni (bay leaf, parsley sprigs, 8
peppercorns, crushed clove of garlic), tied in
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped celery
4 large beets, peeled and diced
3 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes, with juice
1 15-ounce can white kidney beans with liquid
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Place ham hocks and beef, bouillon cubes, bouquet garni, and chopped onion in a very large pot. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, skim off any froth, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2-1/2 hours.
Add carrot and celery, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove bouquet garni; add beets, cabbage, and tomatoes; cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in beans with liquid, vinegar, and sugar. Remove and slice beef; discard ham hocks. Heat, adding more water if soup appears too thick. Serve in large soup bowls with slices of meat. Top with a dollop of sour cream and snips of dill.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society