I don’t know why for sure, but I had never tasted borscht until I was in Poland. I vowed not to offend my hosts, but they served me this fuschia soup. All I could think was, who would eat anything that color. Then they added sour cream and the broth turned pink. I mean really? Eating pink food! Then I lifted the spoon to my lips and tasted pure ambrosia.

I was 50 years old then, but have made this beet and cabbage soup a trademark of my fare the last 17 years—family members and coworkers ask for it often. In fact, today for Halloween, our team asked that I prepare it for our staff party, which I did in my Barebones cast iron dutch oven. It was delicious and a perfect, hearty fall meal. 

 

 

Here is my recipe for you to try, but know this, my borscht is not a quick fix:

Dutch Oven Borscht with Sour Cream
Serves 10
This is a hearty and delicious beet and cabbage soup that makes any Autumn meal seem better, but you can make it a meal by itself it you add beef.
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
12 hr
Total Time
12 hr 45 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
12 hr
Total Time
12 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 lbs well marbled beef or (beef stew meat, cut into small pieces if making this quickly)
  2. 4 beets, peeled and chopped
  3. 2 whole carrots thinly sliced
  4. I large onion chopped
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 6 cups beef broth, or more
  7. 1 head of cabbage, shredded
  8. 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
  9. 1 pint sour cream, as garnish
  10. Optional Ingredients: diced tomatoes, peeled and chopped potatoes,1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste, 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
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Instructions
  1. 1- Place the Dutch Oven on medium heat* and add seasoned beef. Roast until it falls apart. Whole roasts could take 4 to 12 hours.
  2. 2- Add beef broth, beets, carrots, onion and garlic. Include any or all optional ingredients now. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer for 30 min.
  3. 3- Stir in the shredded cabbage. Cover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. 4- Remove from heat. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream.
Notes
  1. I almost always add up to 4 more cups beef broth to keep this more soupy, otherwise it is a hearty and chunky meal.
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And for dessert, this is perfection from a New Orleans restaurant I enjoyed two years ago.

Glazed Donut Bread Pudding
Serves 12
This recipe is very easy and our Scouts love it. You can try using any glazed donuts from your local bakery, but Krispy Kremes are the secret recipe.
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 Glazed Donuts, but Krispy Kreme are the secret ingredient
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1 cup whole milk
  5. 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  6. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 1/8 tsp salt
  8. 1 cube butter
  9. 2 cups light brown or white sugar
  10. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  11. 1 cup milk
  12. 2- tablespoons of flour
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Instructions
  1. 1- Heat your Dutch-oven or a large cast iron fry pan to 350 F*
  2. 2- Cut or tear the donuts apart, and toss them into a large bowl, if you can do this ahead, the staler the better
  3. 3- In bowl beat two eggs, then pour in the milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until everything is well combined, then stir in the nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. 4- Pour the egg and milk mixture over the donuts, using a spatula, fold in the donuts until they are wet. Let this stand at least 15 min. to absorb the wet mixture.
  5. 5- Press the bread pudding mixture into the pan or Dutch-oven.
  6. 6- Bake the bread pudding for 30-45 minutes on medium heat.*
  7. 7- While the bread pudding is cooling make the caramel sauce
  8. 8- In another cast iron pot or pan melt butter over medium heat.
  9. 9- Then add sugar and allow to heat until it browns to the color of paper grocery bag.
  10. 10- Add flour to milk and stir into butter and sugar until it thickens.
  11. 11- Add vanilla
  12. 12- Scoop out servings of bread pudding and add a generous drizzle of caramel sauce
Notes
  1. I don't really think we can call this bread pudding, it's something else and it is from the Gods!
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Adapted from i heart recipes by Rosie
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This article is sponsored by BarebonesLiving.com

Enjoy these other recipes from our Barebones cooking series:

* The Dutch Oven Dude has two ways to help you get medium heat:

1- Hand Test

Use your hand to feel the heat. Of course, every person has a different sensitivity to heat but this works well for me. Just remove the lid from the dutch oven and place your hand just above or just inside the oven. Count how many seconds you can keep your hand there before it gets too hot. It is about 50 degrees per second counting down from 550, so I just count – “550, and 500, and 450, and 400, and 350, and 300, …”.

 

Seconds Temperature
1 500+
2 500
3 450
4 400
5 350 Upper medium heat
6 300 Lower medium heat
7 250
8 200

This is my preferred method. It is consistent and detects temperature instead of estimating the amount of fuel. You do release heat so you need to do the check as quickly as you can.

2- If Using Briquets Follow the Rule of 3

This is a real simple estimate of briquettes. Take the dutch oven diameter and add 3 briquettes on top. Subtract 3 briquettes underneath. So, a 12 inch oven would have 12+3=15 on top and 12-3=9 underneath. This works for any size dutch oven. Then you need to adjust briquette placement depending on the type of cooking.

I feel this method puts too much heat under the dutch oven. Maybe a “Rule of 4” or “Rule of 5” would be closer to what I use. Fortunately, you can always move coals around as needed depending on what you like.

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Darryl Alder

Darryl is a retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. However, his pride in Scouting, is his volunteer service as an Associate Advisor, Varsity Scout Coach, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Chartered Organization Representative and Commissioner.

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