What's Cookin' at the Renegades?

Wondering what the Renegades favourite foods are? Well, even if you weren't we're going to share some with you anyway!

When I came across @kiaraantonoviche's latest #homesteadingchallenge visions of beet rolls began dancing through my head. Some of our most favourite homesteading meals are traditional Ukrainian dishes that we fondly remember devouring at family gatherings. Both Matthew and myself (Mrs. Canadian Renegade) are part Ukrainian and both enjoyed holiday classics like perogies, cabbage rolls, corn bread, beet leaf rolls, and borsch growing up.

While I don't claim to be an aspiring chef of any kind, I can sputter my way around the kitchen from time-to-time. I know, what kind of homesteader am I, right? Seriously guys, Matthew feared for the safety of my fingers when we first met; my knife wielding skills left much to be desired. But, I can safely say I've come a long way and with all of my fingers instact to boot.

I admit, I did not have a chance to sputter in the kitchen for this post but I do have some photos from when I first attempted making borch and beet leaf rolls. What's more, is you're going to learn a little bit about my history in addition to getting some recipes.

Since we're at my parents I had full access to the cookbooks from my Dads home town. My grandparents donated a corner of their property to a community hall called Franko Hall and to raise money to maintain the building the Franko Ladies would put together cookbooks and sell them. They would all submit their favourite recipes, which is a tasty way to pass down community traditions.

As I was thumbing through the books, I couldn't seem to find the right recipes which led to me calling my Baba directly. Who better to go to for cooking knowledge than the source of years of yummy goodness! Side note: My Uncle bought my Baba her first cell phone last year so the grandkids could share photos of her great grandchildren with her since we are all so far away. So yeah, I've been texting with her lately which seems kind of surreal.

I digress! Now that you have small slice of history, on to the yumminess!

 
One of the most traditional dishes in Ukrainian culture is borsch or beet soup. This is an excellent homesteading meal because the ingredients are cheap, and they both store and can well. The recipe my family uses is meatless because it's eaten at Christmas and part of our tradition is to not eat any animals that were in the barn when Jesus was born.

BorschWhile not the traditional vibrant read, this rainbow borsch was just as delicious with orange beets and purple cabbage.

Meatless Borsch

3 beets, size of an orange, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, diced
8 cups water
1 medium potato, diced
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or vinegar)
1/2 cup green peas or white beans
1 large onion
3 Tbsp. butter
1-1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup cold water
2 Tbsp. chopped dill

Cook beets and carrots in water for 2 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add lemon juice (keeps red colour in beets). Add beans or peas and simmer until tender.

Sauté onion in butter until soft. Add cabbage to onion with 1/4 cup water, then simmer until cabbage is tender. Stir into the beets. Add tomato juice or soup. Blend flour with 1/2 cup cold water and stir into vegetables. (I don't eat wheat so I substitute with cornstarch) Add dill for added flavour. Bring to a boil.

Cream can be added is desired. (And should be, in my humble opinion!)

The year I made beet borsch, we had actually chosen to grow orange beets. I was also using up some left over purple cabbage, where green is the typical choice. While our borsch didn't have the vibrant red hue you would normally expect, it's rainbow of colour was quite beautiful. Even with a slight variation of ingredients, this soup hit the taste pallet just right.


The beautiful thing about beets, is while you're waiting for the root to mature in the ground you can still harvest the leaves for other recipes; enter holubsti!

Matt HolubstiI think it's safe to say that Matt was pretty excited when I made this.

As I was writing this, I asked Matt which he preferred, holubsti (beet leaf rolls) or sour cabbage rolls. He wrestled with the cream covered beet leaves, or the sourness of the cabbage. He tried really hard to make a decision and finally said, It's too hard. Don't make me choose! I prefer the sweeter tomato cabbage rolls over the sour myself, but give me a beet leaf roll and I'm done!

Beet Leaf Holubsti

Beet leaves
4 cups rice (not converted)
8 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 onion, mince
3/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely shopped dill
1 cup water or cream

Rinse the rice, then cook the rice in water with 2 teaspoons salt in a Dutch oven.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the butter until it is cooked but not browned, seasoning with some salt and pepper. Stir in the dill. Combine the onion and rice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Prepare leaves while rice is cooking. Wash leaves, then scald in hot water for easier rolling, Drain well on paper towel. Alternatively, you can also wilt the leaves by laying them flat on a cookie sheet and freezing them. This method store well if you want to roll at a later date. Or for a quick wilt you can pop them in the oven at a low temperature and watch closely.

Place a spoonful of rice on the back of the leaf, then roll. Place side by side in baking pan. Sprinkle rice and melted butter between layers. Holubsti can be cooled and frozen, or baked.

To bake, pour the water or cream over the holunsti. More may be needed during baking. Bake, covered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours at 350°F (325°F for glass dish). Serve hot with cream-dill sauce or sour cream.

Rolling

Cream-Dill Sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
2 cups whipping cream
salt and pepper

Lightly sauté the onion in the butter. Add the cream. When it comes to a boil, add the dill and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Aimee HolubstiLeft: Me with the worlds smallest beet leaf roll. Right: My first roll next to a normal sized roll.

I think there is a Ukrainian prank about making beet leaf rolls. Everyone I talked to kept telling me to use the young leaves which I interpreted to be the smaller newer leaves. I ended up struggling to roll anything because the leaves were so tiny! Matt ended up harvesting larger leaves for me part way through which essentially saved me! Apparently, young leaves just means pick them early in the season when they are softer and more pliable! Rookie mistake!

Elephant StewI also found this gem in a family cook book. Apparently, baba's can be a little cheeky.

All photos in this post are courtesy by Mrs. Canadian Renegade's high-tech cellphone.


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That's awesome. I was loving the borscht recipe, but I didn't realize there was borscht with meat in it. I have only had it in restaurants, but it is always a vegetarian soup. I'm excited to try the beet leaf rolls as well. I am planting beets this year and this is a great alternative to just steaming them.

My favourite by far is the elephant stew though.

For some reason Steemit won't let me upvote this post.

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I am glad you enjoyed the recipes. I didn't realize beet borsch could have meat either until I was thumbing through the recipe books trying to find the one my Baba uses. Although, my mom makes a Zuma (Summer) borsch, a Mennonite recipe, that calls for potatoes and ham among other goodness. Perhaps, I will share that recipe another day. I really hope you try the beet leaf rolls. I was surprised how many people hadn't heard of them. The silence must be broken, and the goodness must be eaten!

I am looking forward to elephant stew at the next family reunion... 😉

The post must have hit pending payout when you read it. Once there's 12 hours remaining prior to payout the votes are locked in. I appreciate the gesture though!

Cheers, Aimee

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Lol that cookbook entry! You've been entered into the challenge, thank you!

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Isn't it great! 🤣 Thanks for the entry. -Aimee

Wow, these look delicious! Thanks for teaching me that lemon juice keeps the color in the beets :D We freakin' love beets and their greens. I'm glad we have new Ukrainian friends to teach us a neat trick like that. And LOL @ Elephant Stew :D That's definitely a gem that I'll need to share with my stepmom too, she will get a kick out of it.

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And what an adorable little beet leaf roll! Same thing happened to me when I first made tamales until I eventually began just making a bunch of defective small ones because the kids seem to get a kick out of it too :)

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It was a cute roll! In Matt's family, they pride themselves on being able to roll the smallest rolls. I think this one takes the cake! LOL! I have never made tamales before, maybe you can share a recipe one day. -Aimee

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These recipes are so tasty, I hope you're able to try them one day. I wasn't a huge fan of beets growing up, especially pickled and now I am a convert. I really do think out flavour palette evolves as we age. I actually just learned about the lemon juice trick too! -Aimee

it's look like amazing food... 👍you know cooking also...great sir...☺

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you are welcome sir😊👍

I love to cook a lots, one time my friend from America come to my shelter for borrowing something, and she asked what is on the stove (small stove I carry everywhere is Trangia), and I said my new recipes. she tried it, and say a word: You love to cook, then your are fully blessed and easy to have strong relationship with people even the one you just met. and you definitely love your family. dyou believe that @canadianrenegade??

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I agree @el-nailul, the one language we have in common globally is food. Meals bring people together in joy and celebration and even in grief. So if you cook, naturally you will find yourself in good company. -Aimee

hello @canadianrenegade, it seem I can make it at home, when I see the ingredient. i love to cook too. thank your for sharing this

best regard from Aceh

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I am glad to hear the ingredients are available to you and I hope you try the recipes, you would think regret it and your tummy will thank you. -Aimee

Wow I didn't realize u could use the beet leaf what a surprise, I will remember that next time. I Iove the orange beets actually but not always available. Ur recipe looks very tasty can't wait to try it :=)

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The leaves are so tasty! Hopefully you have a chance to try the recipe one day. I have substituted cream with coconut milk in other recipes but not this particular one. If you like the flavour of coconut milk though, it could be pretty yummy. -Aimee

Nice! I've never heard of beet leaf rolls, now I have something new to try!

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You really should try them, you won't regret it! Years ago, I remember seeing beets at the farmers market with all their tops cut off. They were just sitting in bags behind the vendors table. We asked how much for the bag and they were just going to give us the whole bag free. I think we paid them $4 in the end. Not long after those greens were neatly packaged and being sold at a much higher premium. I guess the secret it out, beet greens are delicious! -Aimee

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Wow, I won't have any until June I'm thinking, can't wait for the garden to be in full swing!

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I hate that our gardens are so seasonal. Blast you winter! We want to put up a high tunnel so we can keep growing even a little bit, in the winter. -Aimee

What a fun post and neat recipes! I really enjoyed the storytelling and history throughout! And the elephant stew is hilarious 😂

I've never heard of beet leaf rolls. Cabbage rolls, yes, but beets, nope!

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Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed reading along. Beet leaf rolls are a whole new level of yumminess and if you ever get the chance to try them you should! I will say it took me about 3 hours to roll but I think more seasoned kitchen dwellers would probably be much quicker. They were totally worth the time investment though. - Aimee

Yep I had the right first look.
That’s Borsch 😂👌

I tried something similar to the last recipe once but with some feta cheese added. They ended up super dry, any suggestions?

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Yeah, feta cheese is pretty dry where as cottage cheese tend to have a bit more moisture. Adding cream and cream sauce will definitely help remedy dryness. :)
-Aimee

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Thank you.

Not shure was cream sauce is 🙈 but google will help.

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You could always try the cream sauce I mention in my post:

Cream-Dill Sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
2 cups whipping cream
salt and pepper

Lightly sauté the onion in the butter. Add the cream. When it comes to a boil, add the dill and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Hopefully, that helps. -Aimee

When my husband and I first met I was invited to Christmas dinner and was anxious because I was a vegetarian and it was always so awkward when food was involved. Imagine how happy I was when I discovered they were Ukrainian and most of the 12 dishes were vegetarian. Your borscht looks delicious. We've never had it with cabbage - I'll have to try that.

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Thank you! Oh man, having food preferences can be so challenging, especially when meeting new people. I struggled at home after giving up wheat because I'd eaten it all my life. I discovered that it was causing much of my intestinal distress so I gave it up to feel better, a concept a lot of people can't seen to understand. Ha ha! -Aimee

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Wheat would be a tough one! We eat too much of it in the winter and I start to feel "dull" inside. I digest it fine but ...too much of anything ... Summer we don't eat much wheat at all with all the food we are growing. I just can't wait for that transition. This has been a long winter.

Not to push you back into trying grains but have you tried sprouted grains? http://anitasorganic.com/about-us/sprouted-grains/ I used to buy this all the time and it makes lovely bread and cakes when you get used to baking with it. Just thought it might be an idea for occasional wheat intake.

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That's interesting! I was just reading another post by @bthebest7 who recommended soaking grains in kefir to ferment first. Sounds like there are traditional ways to prepare grains so they are more easily digestible. I will have to look into it further. Thanks for the link! -Aimee

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