Follow the recipe or invent your own Borscht
Ukrainian borscht recipe…it is nearly impossible to describe how to prepare borscht because there is no single “correct” way to actually cook borscht. Each hostess has her own ideas about the ingredients to be used and the process with which borscht has to be cooked. As a result we have as many versions of Ukrainian borscht recipes as there are hostesses in Ukraine.
What is Ukrainian borscht? On the one hand, borscht is a Ukrainian national soup, but on the other hand it is not a soup at all. The number of soup recipes in the world borders in the zillions.Ok maybe not that high, but there is still the only one among then ITS MAJESTY BORSCHT.
So what is that so special about Ukrainian borscht?
Borscht is not just a regular meal; it is also one of Ukraine’s national symbols. It took its name from the old Slavic word “br’sch” which means “beet”. Since the time immemorial there is nothing better than to eat a big bowl of hot borsch when you come in on a cold winter day. Borscht will warm up your body and soul, bringing much more optimism to your life’s challenges.
Ukrainian borscht recipe.
Each region in Ukraine has its own style to its borscht recipe. All the recipes have different names to distinguish them from each other, but there is one thing which they all have in common. That real borscht is a homemade meal. You can try borscht in a restaurant, but not even the best of them can offer you anything better than just quite decent borscht. It will never have that special homemade taste and spirit which made Ukraine famous for its borscht.
Ukrainian borscht can be cooked in a number of ways. Each individual hostess can not only change the borscht ingredients from time to time, but also the way it is prepared every time she cooks borscht. Everything depends on her mood the day she plans to cook some borscht. Here is a borscht recipe sample for you. It can be used as a starting point if you decide to try and carry the tradition of creating your own version of Ukrainian borscht.
Be sure to invite all your relatives and friends to try your Ukrainian borscht which you have cooked yourself. Do not worry if you have extra, because next day Ukrainian borscht is considered the tastiest.
Borscht Recipe. Ingredients.
1.5 – 2 pounds of beef with bone
0.5 cup dry beans
1 medium beet root, 0.5 medium cabbage
5 medium potatoes, 3 medium carrots, 2 medium onions
2 medium parsley roots, 2-3 bay leaves
2-3 table spoons tomato paste, salt
2 green peppers
5-6 black peppercorns
0.5 – 1 medium garlic
0.15 – 0.25 lb salted salo (pig fat)
How to cook Ukrainian borscht.
You will need a 5-6 liter cooking pot in order to cook your borscht. When you are ready to start you can follow the borscht recipe exactly or experiment on your own.
Soak dry beans for 2-3 hours.
Cut the meat into pieces (big enough that they stick out of your bowl while you eat) and place them in a pot filled with cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off any fat on the surface. In 30 minutes add the soaked beans, cover and cook for about 1 hour.
While the meat is cooking, chop the beet as thin as you can. Place the beet slices into a frying pan with sunflower or vegetable oil and fry until soft (but be careful not to make it too soft!). You can add 1 tea spoon of vinegar to save beet color if you’d like.
Chop the cabbage (also trying to make the slices thin), peel and chop the potatoes and just leave them alone for now.
Chop 3 carrots, 2 onions and 2 parsley roots. Fry them until the onion is becoming golden.
Now the fun part of the borscht recipe. Time to put it all together to make a master piece. But be patient, just focus on one step at a time.
When the meat is ready add some salt, your 2-3 bay leaves, peppercorns and potatoes.
In 5-10 minutes add your fried carrots, onions, parsley roots and beets. Also add the chopped cabbage. Now slow cook for about 10 minutes.
Add 2-3 table spoons of tomato paste, wait until it boils. Now add a little bit of sugar if it is too sour for you. Turn off the stove, but your borscht is not ready yet.
Cut the salted salo into tiny cubes. (Don’t worry! You will If don’t properly you will never see any salo in your borscht.) Chop the 0.5 head of garlic and the dill. Grind them together in a deep bowl with a wooden spoon and throw it into the cooked borscht. Wait for 10-15 minutes more, even if you find it hard to resist all of those delicious smells. Enjoy!
How to serve Ukrainian borscht.
To properly serve Ukrainian borscht is another story. So here are a few more notes to finish our borscht recipe. You can also add some additional flavors to compliment borscht, so here are some traditional variants.
Ukrainian borscht recipe.
According to Ukrainian cooking traditions we often use sour cream for different dishes. Add a table spoon of sour cream in your soup bowl; sprinkle with a little bit of chopped parsley and dill.
Put a broken pod of red pepper in a bowl for a few seconds. Be careful however because it is pretty spicy!
If you are expecting some dear or important guests, you can amaze them with pampushkas. Pampushkas are the small buns spread with a mix of pinch of paper, 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1 tea spoon of vinegar, 1.5 tea spoons of sunflower (or vegetable) oil, and a few drops of water (see the picture above).
You can experiment with borscht recipes as much as you want, but one thing you should remember about traditional Ukrainian food is very moderate and balanced. We don’t use anything that is “too much”. Try to experiment and see what you can do to invent your own borscht recipe. It may very well still remind you of Ukrainian borscht.