Two hours total to prepare, serves six.
Step-1: Bake the beets.
Cut 5 small, red beets into bite size pieces.
Place the pieces on a greased cookie sheet.
Brush with sunflower oil and salt lightly.
Bake 1-hr until tender: at 350F for 30-min then at 300F for the remaining 30-min.
Step-2: Meanwhile ..
While beets are baking, prepare the soup.
I. Get the sauerkraut ready:
Rinse the contents of a 32-oz jar of sauerkraut under running water for 2-min.
In a 5-qt pot, pour 2-Tbsp sunflower oil, and add:
1 medium yellow onion, diced;
2 cloves garlic, minced;
1-tsp fennel seed;
1-Tbsp dried dill, or more to taste;
6-oz white wine.
Simmer this mixture for 2-min, stirring frequently.
Stir in the drained sauerkraut, and add water to cover.
Bring to a boil then simmer for 1-hr until the sauerkraut is soft.
In another 5-qt pot, place 5-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1.25-lb);
Simmer these thighs in 1/2-cup water until the meat is nearly cooked through.
While the thighs are simmering, stir in to this pot:
1 bay leaf;
Chicken bouillon for 2-cups water;
1/4-c dried chives;
20 grinds black pepper;
1-Tbsp sweet paprika;
1-Tbsp (a good squirt) tomato paste;
1-Tbsp dried dill;
6-oz dark stout beer.
When the thighs are white, cut them into pieces with a spatula, and add 1.5-qt water.
Boil on a low boil for 15-min.
Add 4 russet potatoes, cubed small.
Drain and add the sauerkraut (from I., above).
1-cup diced fresh green cabbage;
1/3-cup chopped, fresh Italian parsley;
4-tsp white sugar;
and keep this pot on a rolling simmer until the Onions-and-Garlic-Pot is ready.
III. The Onions-and-Garlic-Pot, while the Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot is simmering:
To the now-empty 5-qt pot where the sauerkraut had boiled, add:
1-Tbsp sunflower oil;
2 medium onions, diced;
3 cloves garlic, minced;
3 thin-sliced carrots;
2.5-cups diced (fresh or canned, preferably fresh) red tomatoes.
Simmer this mixture, stirring frequently, for 15-min.
Turn off the fire under the Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot.
Spoon in the chicken, potatoes, and sauerkraut plus a small amount of the broth.
Boil this mixture merrily, on a low boil, stirring often, for 10-min.
Add the remaining broth from the Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot.
Boil all together, uncovered, for 10-min longer.
Step-3: Add the beets to the soup.
Remove the beets from the oven.
Add the baked beets to the Onions-and-Garlic-Pot
(which contains all the other ingredients, now thoroughly cooked through).
Simmer uncovered at a high simmer for 15-min, until the soup is a beautiful red.
Taste for salt and pepper; add if needed.
Cover, remove the pot from the fire, and let the borscht rest for 10-min.
Serve Potkalitsky’s Borscht in large soup bowls with a dollop of sour cream.
Daughter of an extended Ukrainian-American family, Jill Potkalitsky Dahlburg (she/her/hers) followed her early dream of achieving a Ph.D. in physics so she could study the stuff of stars and limitless terrestrial energy: plasma, the fourth state of matter. As a lover of delicious food, she helped in the kitchen at home for as far back as she can remember, and she continues to prepare her Ukrainian grandmothers' heart-warming dishes for family, friends, and scientific colleagues as often as she can.