Borscht (Beet & Beef Soup)

4 lbs meaty beef neck bones
2 tsp salt and 2 tsp fresh-cracked pepper
32 ounces unsalted beef broth or unsalted beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 onions
8 medium-sized beets
1 small bunch carrots (4 cups shredded)
salt and finely-ground pepper to taste
fresh dill, 3 to 4 sprigs (about 3 Tbsp for soup–plus more to garnish)
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (we used pomegranate-infused red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup sour cream, labne or yogurt, to garnish
Crusty bread and sausage to serve with the soup

Make beef base: Preheat oven to 400. Rub neck bones with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until well browned, turning so that all sides are browned. (About 15 minutes.) Cover browned bones with beef broth. Add wine. Turn oven down to 325. Simmer in the oven for three to four hours until meat is falling off of the bones.

While beef base is being prepared, peel and finely dice onions. In a heavy skillet, saute onions with 1 tsp oil until soft, but not browned. About 15 minutes. Peel beets and carrots. Using a food processor or hand grater, grate all of the carrots. Wearing plastic gloves, grate all of the beets. Add carrot to onion with 1/4 cup water. Cover saute pan and continue to saute until carrots are al dente. Remove from heat. In large soup kettle, just cover grated beets with water. Simmer until beets are cooked through. Stir in carrot and onion mixture. Simmer for 10 more minutes to combine. Remove from heat. Remove beef and bones from oven; strain broth from meat.

Cool beef and bones until you can handle them; remove meat from bones and cut into small pieces, discarding any gristle or fat. Discard bones. If you have time, chill stock overnight and remove any visible fat that solidifies on top. Combine beef stock with cooked beet/carrot/onion mixture. Add beef cubes. Heat until gently simmering and all flavors are combined well. Stir in vinegar; salt and pepper to adjust seasoning to taste. Add dill just before serving.

Serve hot with sour cream, more snipped dill, crusty bread and sliced smoked sausage.