Krista's Korner - Historic Baltic Stew - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  –          

Krista’s Korner – Historic Baltic Stew

Ukranian Borscht


This stew takes advantage of late winter and early spring vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and beets and includes your choice of beef short ribs or pork ribs.

Browning the meat in the stockpot before adding it to the stew creates a layer of flavor.  A few tablespoons of red wine vinegar help pump up the tartness.

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs or pork ribs, or a combination of the two
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 quarts beef stock
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 large red beets (1-1 ½ pounds), scrubbed well
  • 2 x 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into ¾ inch dice
  • 1 pound green cabbage, shredded (3 – 4 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, grated on the large holes of a box grater (2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 x 14.5 ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4-6 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Fresh chopped dill, for serving
  • Sliced scallions, for serving


  1. Heat a large stockpot (at least 8 quarts) over medium-high heat and add the oil. While the pot is heating up, season the meat with 2 tablespoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper on all sides. When the oil starts to shimmer carefully add the ribs and cook until browned on all sides (a few minutes per side), using tongs to flip. Don’t crowd the pan – you may need to do this in batches.  Set the ribs aside on a plate and discard all but 2 tablespoons of excess fat from the pan.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and ad the onion to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the beef stock, water and the whole beets and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the beets just start to soften (a knife will go in with a bit of resistance), about 30 minutes.  Carefully remove the beets from the pot and set them aside in a bowl to cool.  Add the ribs back to the pot along with the tomatoes, cover and cook at a gentle simmer until the meat is falling-apart tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours.
  3. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel away the skin using your fingers or a paring knife. Cut into ½ inch pieces and set aside.
  4. When the ribs are cooked, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set them aside in a bowl. Taste the broth and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Add the chopped beets, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and bell pepper and simmer until they are just tender.  While the vegetables are cooking, pull the meat from the ribs, discard any excess fat or connective tissue, and shred or cut the meat into bite-size pieces.
  5. When the vegetables are cooked, stir in the meat and beans and simmer until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice.  Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill and scallions.

Krista’s Kitchen is a creation of Krista Cheeseman who with her husband Alan Cheeseman own and operate Wilderness North. Krista’s Culinary Arts Degree and Food Management Certifications makes her the perfect match for the foods and meals prepared for Wilderness North guests.

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