My journey of discovery with Ukrainian cuisine continues, albeit with a heavy heart as the Ukrainian people who are no doubt missing the simple pleasures of a meal with friends or family now number more than one million. Last week, I shared Ukrainian-inspired potatoes, a delicious and indulgent way to serve the humble spud in a buttery, creamy, herby sauce. This week, I am sharing my take on shpundra, a Ukrainian pork stew with beetroot, a favourite vegetable in that part of the world.
I am a big fan of the pre-cooked beetroot from the supermarket – it is an easy, affordable way to add a punch of rich, earthy flavour to your cookery, although you need to open the bags very carefully lest you don’t end up spraying dark pink juice all over yourself and the kitchen. Even if you are a beetroot refusenik, I strongly urge you to try this pork stew. The rich flavours may just change your mind on this fabulous magenta vegetable.
If you don’t eat pork, the pork stew can easily become a chicken, beef or lamb stew. And if you don’t eat meat, a meat-free alternative to the fatty chunks of pork belly would be to add chunks of cauliflower, potato or sweet potato – or a combination of the three. The meat-free variations are at steps 3 and 4 of the recipe.
And if you’d prefer not to use alcohol in your cookery, apple juice works well here as a classic partner for pork.
When I made this pork stew last weekend, it fed my husband and I for dinner on Saturday night and then I served the leftovers on baked potatoes for an easy, lazy Sunday dinner.
While I’ve got your attention, please click here to read more about Reporters Without Borders about the dangers for journalists in Ukraine at the moment. Without the bravery of journalists who are risking their lives along with the people of Ukraine in places such as Kyiv, Mariupol, Odessa and Lviv, we would struggle to stay informed about this truly awful conflict.