Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Borsch

Green Borsch is a spring dish that anybody who grew up in Russia or Ukraine knows. It has its unique component, sorrel, which can not be successfully substituted with anything else. Sorrel has distinctive sour taste and some really hard to describe flavor. Sorrel's herby sourness gives to a Green Borsch its special taste that impossible to create with any other herb or greenery.
As sorrel was one of the first herbs appeared on a soviet farmer markets in a spring, green borsch was marking for us the arrival of spring and beginning of a summer. 

What it is
It's a soup. And it's really hard to tell why it's called borsch but I definitely can tell you why it's called green - a lot of sorrel, green onion and parsley leave no doubt - indeed it's "green".

There is vegetarian version of it and another one - prepared with meat. My mom was always cooking this borsch with pork. Although I think any meat can be used instead. Of course, vegetarian version is much lighter and nice to be served cold on a hot summer day.

How it's served
Serve meatless green borsch cold and one with meat - hot. But both should be served with chopped hard boiled egg on top and a half-a-spoon of sour cream. Additional chopped parsley on a top would not hurt for sure.

Some side comments
Sorrel is not popular (at all!) here, in US. I was happy to find its seeds on Amazon a year ago. Right now I have sorrel in my garden just got ready to be used somewhere. The only sorrel dishes I know is this lovely Green Borsch and Salmon with Sorrel Sauce which is not tackled by me just yet.

How to store it
As any soup, it will keep in your fridge for a few days.

If you do not have fresh sorrel, you can try to use sorrel from a jar - I saw it in some grocery stores here. Also you can try to make this borsch with spinach instead, in this case you will need to add some kind of sourness at the end of cooking, something like crystals of lemon acid, real lemon juice or even plain vinegar, start with a couple of spoons. Keep tasting while doing this and balance it with sugar added.

Green Borsch

2 lb of pork (any part will work)
1 onion, chopped
5-6 large potatoes, cut in large chunks
large bowl of fresh sorrel (rule of tumb here: more - better), roughly chopped
bunch of green onion, chopped
1/2 cup of minced parsley
3-4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
sour cream, for serving
salt, sugar and black pepper to taste
- In a large pot, 3/4 filled with water, cook your pork until almost cooked.

- Add onion and potato and cook on medium-low heat until potato and pork cooked to the "fall-apart" stage. Take potato musher and smash some big pieces of potato. It will add substance to soup's liquid.

- Add sorrel and green onion. Bring to a boil.

- Add salt, pepper, and sugar to your taste. Sugar is optional but I like to add it just a tiny bit to balance sorrel's sourness.

- Add parsley and let it boil slowly for one minute and turn heat off.

- It's done! Isn't it easy to cook?

- Serve with spoon or two of chopped eggs, sprinkles of parsley and generous dollop of sour cream. I really hope you like it - it has sweet-&-sour taste softened with sour cream and egg yolks.

Sorrel, just brought from my garden.

Sorrel, chopped. It is not really a lot - you will be surprised how much it will shrink in a borsch.

Almost done - I just need to bring it to a boil and it's ready to be served.

Now it's ready to be enjoyed, with sour cream and eggs - yummm.


  1. hm.... but what about those of us who can't have dairy? I can't imagine it without sour cream!

  2. Bummer... sour cream makes everything better :) Just throw some extra eggs in it! The purpose of sour cream there, as well as eggs, to bring "body" and maximum taste to the liquid part of the soup. You will acheave it by 1)adding sour cream; 2)adding extra eggs, yolks especially; 3)partially smashing potato pieces. Good luck!


I would love to hear from you!