Shpundra – Pork and beetroot stew

Shpundra is the ancient Ukrainian folk dish comprising pork stewed with beetroots in beet kvass. The meat gets a tender, rich taste and a vibrant ruby color. Such a dish will be a great, nourishing dinner. In old times, shpundra was dressed with flour or steamed, grated millet.

Ivan Petrovych Kotliarevsky, the well-known Ukrainian writer, poet, and playwright (known for his travesty “Eneïda” and operetta “Natalka Poltavka”) mentioned this wonderful dish in one of his works: “Shpundra with beets and borsch was served” («Був борщ до шпундрів з буряками»).

Ingredients:

  • 300 g (10,5 oz) belly bacon/ gammon of bacon
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) salo
  • 3 medium red beetroots
  • 3 little bulb onions
  • 250 ml beet kvass
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 20 ml vegetable oil
  • salt – to taste
  • ground black pepper – to taste
  • lemon juice – to taste
  • spring onion, fresh parsley, fresh dill

 

Cooking

There are two ways of cooking – you can use belly bacon without salo (this type of meat is already rich in fat) or you can use gammon of bacon with salo.

1 Cube salo and fry it until you get cracklings. Dice gammon of bacon, coat it with flour mixed with pepper and salt and fry together with cracklings to a crispy golden crust.

OR

2 Dice belly bacon, coat meat pieces with flour mixed with pepper and salt. Fry the meat until golden brown.

Peel, wash, and chop bulb onions finely. Fry the onion until brown.

Rinse, peel, and dice beetroots (wear gloves to avoid staining your hands).

Combine the bacon, onion, and beets in a deep pot. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and stew them for 5 minutes.

Stir in lemon juice and beet kvass. Adjust salt and pepper. Stir everything carefully. Cover shpundra with a lid and cook for 1 hour.

Rinse and chop spring onions, parsley, and dill.

When cooked, arranged shpundra on a plate and top it with herbs.

Tip:

1 Traditionally, pork breast or belly bacon was used but other high-fat meat will also work.

2 Beetroot kvass can be added if needed while cooking (to ensure the meat is soft).

Recipe for beetroot kvass

If you can’t buy or find beetroot kvass, you can cook it by yourself. Everything is easy)

You’ll need to grate coarsely two red beets. Place them in a jar, and add two slices of fried rye bread, 4 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of raisins, and 600 ml of warm water. Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth/buttercloth and leave in a dark place for 3 days. When kvass is done, filter it before using. The remaining kvass you can add to other borsch, soup, or broth. Or you can simply drink this kvass.

Tips:

It’s recommended to use glass, enameled, earthenware or wooden jar to cook kvass.

Enjoy your meal!

Have you liked the recipe for stewed pork with beets?

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