Thursday, February 16, 2012


Borsch is a staple of Ukrainian cuisine. There are numerous variations of borsch recipes and of course mine is the best :). I like my version because it's healthy, simple and yes, extremely delicious. So, go for it and ask questions along the way.

What is it
 It's a soup with a lot of body in spite of tons of vegetables, meat and beans. The longer it stays - the better it tastes. It's always better the next day. Nevertheless, I personally like it right off the stove also.
How it's served
It served hot, with a dollop of sour cream, garlic clove in a left hand and piece of hearty (pumpernickel for example) bread in your right hand. It doesn't leave any free hand for spoon, but I'm sure you'll find the way..
Some side comments
It may be acquired taste but worth to try because it's healthy and it's filling. .I didn't see yet 'soviet' person who would not like a good bowl of borsch from "his grandma who's the best borsch cook in a world".
How to store it
Keep in a refrigerator for as long as one week.

Beet, cabage, potato, carrot, onion and tomato are the must. All other allows variations: meat/no meat, beans/no beans, herbs/no herbs. Also fresh tomatoes can be used in place of tomato paste but I prefer tomato paste - it adds more body and color to the dish.

10+ servings

5 large potatoes 
2 beet roots (about 3" in diameter)
1 can of dark or light kidney beans (any beans will do)
1 large onion
2 large carrots
1 small can of tomato paste
½ of small cabbage
5-6 fresh parsley sprigs
some olive oil for cooking vegetables
1.5 teaspoon salt (or to the taste)
3 tablespoons sugar (or to the taste)

1.5 lb pork (country ribs but any part will work)
- Peel potatoes. Cut pork in a 2" cubes.
- In a big pot add about 1 gallon of cold water, add pork and whole peeled potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Peel and dice onion. Peel and grate carrots and beets using course grater. Cook onion in an olive oil on a medium sized skillet until soft and translucent. Add carrot and cook until carrot becomes soft. Add tomato paste and 2 or 3 cups of tap water. Cook stirring about 10 more minutes and set aside.
- When potatoes are cooked completely, take them out in a separate bowl.
- With a knife, cut potatoes roughly right in a bowl and then return it back to the pot.
- Peel and grate beets with a course grater and add grated beets to the pot. Bring pot to a boil and let it simmer.
- Meanwhile, shred cabbage using mandoline and set aside. I like to cut shredded cabbage across with a long knife otherwise your chicks will be stamped with red mustaches left by cabbage hanging off your spoon.
- Add your tomato mix from the skillet to the pot.
- Add shredded cabbage. If you running out of room in your pot, take some liquid out and continue to add ingredients.
- Stir borsch. Add salt and sugar. Adjust to the taste. Keep in mind that it's not going to be final taste of your borsch. Final taste to the borsch will come from vegetables after you take it off heat and let it stand for about half hour. Some says that borsch tastes better next day but I would not wait :)
- Add chopped parsley, stir, let it boil and take it off the heat. Done!
- Serve with dollop of sour cream, nice bread and fresh clove of garlic to bite on.


When bringing pot to a boil, occationaly take some foam out.

As variation, beets can be cooked along with carrots and onion - it will make your borsch more magenta color. Although I like to add it directly to simmering potato and meat. This way, if cooked in water, it will fade out intense beet color and will make my borsch more orange which I prefer.
While potato, meat and beats are simmering in water and carrot and onion are sweating in a pan, I'm preparing parsley and cabbage.

Usually I cut sliced cabbage across just to avoid orange mustaches while eating a borsch :)

Potatoes should be cooked to "fall apart" condition before smashing it with knife (see next picture).

..and back to the pot!

Ready to go to the pot also.

Note the cabbage "island" - we have a lot of good stuff in there already. Now just bring it to a boil, simmer for couple minutes, add parsley (next picture) and voila - borsch is done.

Make the last stir, take off the heat, cover and let it sit for another 20 minutes before you eat. Enjoy!

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