It’s funny how some dishes can pop into your head, even when they are completely out of season. I mention this because when I spied tender young beets from The Beet Box and a perky head of Napa cabbage from Roots ‘n Shoots in this week’s Farmers’ Feast basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, the first thing I thought of was Borscht, the famed Eastern European soup that is so warming, even on the chilliest of days. I began to wonder how I could translate the delicious flavours of Borscht into a summertime dish, and I decided a braised “salad” might just work; I can happily report that it was a wonderful experiment. There’s no mistaking the flavours of Borscht here, thanks to the beets, potatoes, carrots, garlic, cabbage and seasonings, predominantly coriander and dill. The salad – a great standalone vegetarian or vegan dish – was the perfect bed for grilled local lamb chops from La Ferme Albe; it would be excellent with grilled sausages or chicken as well. Add some vegetable stock and you could even turn it into a 15 minute soup.
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) canola, sunflower or olive oil
- 3 cups (750 mL) grated beets
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) grated carrots
- 1 cup (250 mL) potatoes, 1/4 inch (.6 cm) dice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dill seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) water
- 3 cups (750 mL) shredded cabbage (1/2 inch or 1.25 cm strips)
- 4 lamb chops
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) canola, sunflower or olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream and fresh dill, chopped, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- If grilling meat to accompany the salad, preheat barbeque to medium-high.
- For the salad, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet.
- Add beets and salt, stirring to coat well with oil. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add carrots, potatoes, garlic, coriander, dill seeds, pepper, cider vinegar and water. Stir to combine well.
- Cover skillet with a lid and continue to cook vegetables, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after 10 minutes and leave pot covered.
- While vegetables sit, drizzle oil over lamb chops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until they reach an internal temperature of 135F for medium rare. Remove from grill to a clean plate and cover loosely with foil.
- While meat rests for a few minutes, return skillet of vegetables to medium heat. Add shredded cabbage to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until cabbage is just beginning to wilt.
- Transfer the beet and cabbage mixture to a platter and top with lamb chops. Serve with lemon wedges and sour cream sprinkled with chopped fresh dill.