Ukrainian Borshch

3 lbs beef brisket
2 onions, chopped
1 parsley root
1 bay leaf
5 raw beets
1/2 C tomato sauce
1 T lemon juice
2 carrots, sliced
4 potatoes
1 small head cabbage, shredded
3 slices bacon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
a bowl of sour cream

Cover the brisket with cold water. Add 1 onion, parsley root, bay leaf, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours or more until the beef is tender. Remove the meat, skim off any grease, strain the soup stock and reheat. (Use the meat in a filling for piroshky if desired.)

Peel the beets, then cut them into shoestring strips. Cook them, covered, over low heat, with the tomato sauce, lemon juice, and 1/2 C of the beef stock. Meanwhile, add the carrots to the broth and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks. Add the shredded cabbage. When all the vegetables are tender, add the beets and the sauce in which they cooked to the soup.

Dice the bacon. Fry it together with the remaining onion. Strain off fat, then add the mixture to the soup. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil once, garnish with parsley, and then let the borshch sit for 15 minutes before serving with sour cream on the side.

Adapted from The Russian Cookbook by Barbara Norman

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