Minced beef and beetroot stew.
This simple dish may be described as a peasant dish but it is one of my all time favourites to prepare, make and eat. Beetroot is packed with essential nutrients such as potassium, manganese, B12, iron and vitamin C. it is also a good source of fibre, helps lower blood pressure and improves exercise performance.
It has power!
One onion ( I use red) , three carrots, two large potatoes, three large beet, 500g of minced beef (or rabbit)
Salt & pepper
You could add less carrot and another root vegetable of your choice such as parsnip or turnip but I like the taste of beetroot to stand alone without any other overpowering flavour.
- Chop and fry the onion in a large saucepan.
- Add the mince and brown.
- Peel and dice all the other vegetables and stir into the mince and onions.
- Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper.
- Then pour in stock to a little beneath the level of the ingredients.
- I always use oxo with my beef dishes so I added 4 oxo cubes to about 500ml of water
- Bring to the boil and then turn down and simmer until the beetroot is soft.
I feel something wonderfully different in making this stew, a connection to a time long gone by; in tune with that something else we feel, but can’t always explain.
My son tells me the stew reminds him of the food they serve in the cowboy films or on his Xbox game Red Dead Redemption II. And for me, by adding the beets it reminds me of the food I would cook in a cauldron, if I were Baba Yaga the Russian witch.
I heard the tale of Baba Yaga long ago and I always imagined her making *borscht in a pot over an open fire, although that is more of a soup to which you would also add garlic, tomatoes and celery.
44 years ago I had just started school. Towards the end of the school day my class was taken into a little classroom which we entered through a small heavy wooden door round the back of the school. Once there we would be squashed together on the carpet where we were read the home time story.
I didn’t warm to the teacher, Mrs Pickthall, she was sharp and stern, but when she read to us, I was transfixed.
The book, Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome, was as described, a series of folk-tales from Russia. The first chapter tells of Maroosia and Vanya who live in a hut of pine logs in the forest with their grandfather, the forester Old Peter. Their father and mother are both dead, and they can hardly remember them. They settle down by the fire and Old Peter tells them the stories.
“Tell us about Baba Yaga,” begged Maroosia.
“Yes,” said Vanya, “please, grandfather, and about the little hut on hen’s legs.”
“Baba Yaga is a witch,” said old Peter; “a terrible old woman she is, but sometimes kind enough…”
I serve the stew with bread from an uncut loaf and I eat mine from a bowl with a spoon.
Wholesome sweet red comfort food, as the dark nights draw in and we approach Samhain.