Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Borscht in the Slow Cooker

Delicious, beautiful, and chock full of nutrients.  This made a nice light supper in combination with a bit of leftover crab dip I needed to use up.  And the next night, we ate the borscht leftovers as a side to steak.  

This isn't a terribly authentic borscht recipe, but it's healthy, tasty, and easy to make, so who cares?  Enjoy!

What you need:
3-4 medium beets, thoroughly washed, ends trimmed off, and cut into rough chunks
1-1.5 cups chopped fresh pumpkin or winter squash (really I was just trying to use this up- you could substitute with carrots, which is what I saw in different recipes I looked at before making this)
1 apple, cored and cut into rough chunks
1 leek stalk, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1/2-1 full head garlic, cloves peeled
3 packets beef seasoning or bouillon cubes (I used Swanson Flavor Boost, concentrated broth)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 slices turkey bacon

Some sort of creamy topping*(sour cream is traditional, but see below for my healthier choice)

Dump the beets, pumpkin (or winter squash or carrots), apple, leek, celery, and garlic into the crockpot.  Saute the onion and bacon in a lightly greased (I use olive oil spray) frying pan and season with a little salt and pepper.  Once browned, add a half cup of water to the pan and scrape around with a spatula to loosen any browned stuff at the bottom of the pan (adds flavor).  Stir in the beef seasoning.  Pour this over the vegetables in the pot.  Cook on high for 3 hours, or until all vegetables are tender.  Use an immersion blender to puree it all up.  Season with additional salt, pepper, or garlic powder if necessary.  Enjoy!

Cottage Cheese and Roasted Garlic Topping:

3/4 cup cottage cheese (I used 1%)
1/4-1/2 cup fat free Greek or plain yogurt
2 whole heads of roasted garlic (cut the tops off, spray with olive oil, season with a little salt and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, or until soft)
1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper
fresh or dried parsley
salt (if necessary)

Blend everything together in the blender.  Done!

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