Nothing says fall to me like a huge kettle of soup. I just made my first-ever batch of borscht . It ended up being a bit of whatchagot stew, but it was still good. I pulled several pounds of beets from the garden over the weekend and wanted a way to use them up. The recipe I used as a framework called for a pound of lamb stew meat. I didn't have lamb, but I did have some duck breasts that had been languishing in the deep-freeze for nearly a year (hubby likes to shoot duck, doesn't always like to eat it). So I cubed that up and browned it in some rendered bacon fat. Threw in chopped onion to cook for a minute or two. Then the duck simmered for an hour in a mixture of pepsiOne, a glug or two of wine, bay leaf and mystery stock from the freezer(I think it might have been pork roast in a tomatillo glaze) Then I added the diced beets, shredded cabbage and chopped tomatoes and left that to simmer for another almost hour. At this point I dared my husband to taste it. He did, I did (he insisted I try a bite with the duck meat as it gave the soup a whole 'nother dimension of flavor). The consensus? It was in dire need of some salt and pepper, but other than that it was entirely edible. The recipe I was mostly not following, called for chopped beet tops to be stirred in and simmered for the last 15 minutes. Well all my beet tops looked terrible, more holes than leaves actually, so they were out of the picture (out in the compost heap, actually). But I did have some lovely ruby red swiss chard that was crying out to be used (it looked like the beet tops so it must be an acceptable substitute, or so my logic went) I chopped it up stems and all, and into the pot it went. We served it with the traditional dollop of sour cream, or in my husband's case half-cup, and a sprinkle of chopped dillweed. My picky 8yo son ate up his bowl with nary a fuss, however my nearly 5yo eats-anything daughter had to be cajoled into finishing up hers. Husband went back for seconds and took the rest to work with him today to have as lunch for the rest of the week. He said I can make it again, and perhaps I will; next time I might even follow the recipe. All in all, it was a successful foray into a little peasant cooking.