It all makes sense if you realize that I opened the refrigerator, thinking about lunch, and realized that we're leaving for San Diego on Wednesday and I had piles of slightly wilted unused vegetables sadly lingering in the bottom of the fridge: three raw beets; four carrots wilted to the state where I will, out of courtesy to the men reading this, scruple to describe the peeling process; two onions; a head of garlic; a bunch of celery; and one sad leek leftover from the potato and leek curry the other day.
And of course I thought, borscht!
A brief rummage in the freezer yielded a tri-tip roast, which was remanded to the microwave to thaw partially. Meanwhile, I commenced the process of peeling and grating the beets. Beets, if you have not dealt with them, are best peeled with a sharp knife in the sink itself, and best grated with a large box grater. Your hands will turn red. Hopefully not from incompetent application of the box grater. This is normal.
All right. The beets grated, I retrieved the semifrozen beef, removed the fat (saving about a cubic inch sliced into strips to render for cooking fat), began rendering the fat, and cubed the beef. The beef being cubed, I set it aside and commenced to dice the onions, peel and dice the carrots (see above. the texture was really... striking), and dice the celery. Those were sauteed in the rendered fat to produce a Cajun influence on the final product.
The sauteed vegetables were removed to a bowl, crushed and coarsely chopped garlic thrown on top, and the beef seared until it caramelized. Then the vegetables, with the addition of Monsieur Leek and the previously grated beet roots, were returned to the soup pot, and the entirety suffered the introduction of most of a can of stewed tomatoes (leftover), a can of beef broth, a beef bouillion cube, a vegetable bouillion cube, a can of shoestring beets (we like us some beets). Having been tasted, the stock was deemed sufficiently salted, and was peppered and seasoned with mustard seed, bay, marjoram, rosemary, onion powder and dill.
It's cooking down now. I'll let you know how it turns out.