Ukrainian Borscht

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Do you have a dish from childhood that you always request your parents to make for you whenever you visit? This is one of those dishes for my dad. Whenever we would visit my grandmother (my dad’s mom) he would always ask her to make it for him. We didn’t visit my grandma often growing up because she lived 200 miles away. We used to take train to go see her and it would be a long 8h trip ­čÖé ┬áBut my dad was always very happy when after a long and tiring trip he had his favorite Ukrainian Borscht waiting for him ­čÖé

During my visit to Poland with my husband, my grandmother gave me some tips on how to make this tasty soup. My husband said when she cooked it for us, ┬áthat it is THE BEST soup he has EVER TASTED ­čÖé

As with many other dishes, there are different ways of preparing it, depending on the chef ­čÖé The basic ingredients of Ukrainian Borscht are beets, carrots, beans and cabbage. Some people also add apples to it . The soup should be made with a stock that has a deep flavor like a beef stock.

Today I will share with you my favorite way to prepare it, based on my family’s recipe and with many great tips from my dad (who by the way LOVES to cook ­čÖé )

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Ingredients for 5-6 people

For the beef stock

  • 1 1/2 pound of beef with bone
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, cover the beef with water and bring to a boil. Once the stock starts boiling reduce the heat to low. Remove all the foam that formed on the surface of the soup. Add vegetables and cook uncovered on low heat for 2-3 hours until the meat is really tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the soup:

  • 1 large beet or 2 smaller ones
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/3 cup of lima beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1/6 cabbage
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 4-5 tbsp. vinegar (or to taste)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Begin by soaking the beans. Cover them with water and leave overnight. After the beans are soaked, bring them to boil with some salt and once they start boiling turn of the heat and let them stay in the hot water until it cools. This way the beans will be cooked through and not mushy. 
  2. Cook the beets (with the skin on) in a pressure cooker until fork tender. Let them cool
  3. Cook the potatoes (with the skins) until fork tender
  4. Drain the beef stock discarding everything besides the beef.  Remove the meat from the bone and cut into large chunks
  5. Bring the beef stock to a boil and add the meat
  6. Cut the carrot into thick slices; cut the cabbage into 1 inch squares; peel the beets and cut into 4 and then slice. (some people grate all the vegetables on the grater with large holes and slice the cabbage. We like chunky soup in my family so we cut everything into large pieces)
  7. Add the vegetables to the beef stock with the meat. Add the marjoram and garlic and let it cook for 10-15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender
  8. Add the beans that were previously cooked and drained
  9. Add vinegar to the soup. Start with 1 tbsp and keep adding according to your taste. You can also add a tsp of sugar to bring out the flavors. Ukrainian borscht should have a sour flavor. And of course don’t forget salt and pepper to taste.┬á
  10. The last step is making the potatoes. Some people add potatoes to the soup. I like to cook them separately. I cook the potatoes until they are tender. Then let them cool and peel. In the meantime I brown finely chopped onion with 2 tbsp. of oil. Once the onion is golden brown I add sliced potatoes and fry everything for 2-3 minutes.
  11. I transfer the potatoes to a soup plate and cover them with the borscht
  12. ENJOY!!!!

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