This version of borscht is hearty and slightly tart — and it seems to contain pretty much everything in a typical Eastern European produce aisle. Once made, borscht reheats well and will keep in the fridge for a week.
1large parsley root or parsnip,cut into ¼-inch slices
1small celery root,diced (optional)
1large potato,peeled and diced
1headcabbage,roughly shredded (about 2 cups)
Juice of 2 lemons,or 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sour cream for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot, just barely cover the venison with water and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, drain the water and reserve the venison. This removes any scum that might otherwise rise to the surface of your broth. Return the venison to the pot, add the stock and 1 quart of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and add salt to taste. Crumble the dried mushrooms into the soup, cover, and let it cook gently while you turn to the rest of the soup.
As soon as you put the lid on the soup, move to the beets. Coat them in the oil and wrap loosely in foil. Roast in the oven for 1 hour to 90 minutes, until reasonably tender. Remove from the oven and let the beets cool enough to handle. (If you have latex gloves, put them on — beets stain.) Peel the beets and then shave them on a coarse box grater.
Heat the butter in a sauté pan. When it’s hot, add the sliced onion and sauté over high heat until the edges brown, about 6 minutes. Drop the heat to medium-high and add the beets, carrot, celery and parsley root. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the tomato paste, adding a ladle or two of the simmering soup to help blend everything and to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the sauté pan. Turn off the heat.
When the venison is tender, add the diced potatoes to the soup pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the contents of the sauté pan to the soup and cook another 5 minutes.
When the potatoes are ready, add the lemon juice or vinegar, parsley, dill and a healthy grinding of black pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream in the middle of the soup.