Heartland Cafe's Bison Borscht Recipe
In a charming 110-year-old church in Olde Towne Okotoks, Alberta, complete with original floors, walls and windows, you'll find chef Beverly Pell serving fresh, homemade soups at her family's Heartland Cafe. Luckily, the day I visited, Bison Borscht was on offer--tangy, savoury, delicate yet full of spices and tender beets--the ultimate comfort food. It was fitting since I had just visited Rita and Armin Mueller's Pilatus Bison Ranch near Lacombe, Alta., the day before. The Mueller's raise about 2000 heads of bison naturally--without hormones, antibiotics or feed additives.
Here's Beverly Pell's recipe for bison borscht, the perfect way to venture out, and try the other (Alberta) red meat.
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Pound Boneless Bison cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black Cracked Pepper
1 large Yellow Onion - diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium Celery Ribs - diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium Carrots - diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups Green Cabbage - diced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves Garlic - minced
2 cups Water
1 carton Organic Beef Stock
5 medium Purple beets - roasted
2 medium Potatoes - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
15 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp Dried Thyme
2 tsp Dried Dill
2 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley - chopped
Sour Cream to garnish
· Heat bison in a large skillet over medium-high heat with salt and pepper until seared on all sides. Set aside.
· In a stockpot, add some more oil to sauté onion, celery, and carrots until soft. Add garlic and cabbage, stirring for a couple of minutes.
· Add water and stock along with the bison.
· Add all the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley and sour cream, and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
· Taste and add a bit more water, salt and pepper as desired.
· Top with sour cream just before serving.