Winter Borscht

Borscht is basically beef, beets, vegetables and broth.  If you don't have some of these veggies you can substitute with others.  Cabbage is also good in this as well.  You can get creative with whatever you have!

1 lb. boneless beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
3-4 tbls cooking oil
1 large or 2 medium leeks (or onions), trimmed, washed, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
¼ tsp allspice
1 16oz can tomatoes
¾ lb. beets, peeled and julienned or shredded
7-8 cups broth or water
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium, or 3 small rutabagas (or potatoes or parsnips or a combo), peeled and chopped
Splash of vinegar

Heat oil in saucepot until hot.  Brown beef in batches and transfer to bowl.  Add additional oil and sauté leeks over medium heat for about 10 min, stirring.  Add garlic, cinnamon, and allspice and stir for 30 seconds.  Then add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up tomatoes with your spoon.  Return beef to pot.  Add beets, water/broth, bay leaf and salt and pepper.  Heat to boil then cover and simmer until beef is mostly tender (1-3 hours).  Stir in carrots and rutabaga and return to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer again until all is tender (1/2-1 hour).  Stir in vinegar at the end and check seasonings.  Top each bowl with optional sour cream. Serves 4-6.