Borshch


Borshch recipes are the constant subject of the”holy wars” both in the real life and on the internet, because everybody has his or her tried-an-true-the-only-real-one recipe. A Russian cook in the Augustana college cafeteria asked Vlad the day she made borshch: I know that the best borshch is the one your Mom makes, but tell me whether this one is a second-best!

This been said, my borshch is not “the best”, and not “the only one”. First, it’s vegetarian, which many people not even consider “a real borshch”, second – I do not follow “the Bible” at all. But I like it the way I make it 🙂

You will need:

  • 3 medium size beets
  • 2 medium size carrots
  • 1/2 of parsley root
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb of green cabbage – depending on how “thick” you want your borshch to be
  • 1 plum tomatoe
  • vinegar
  • sugar
  • salt
  • pepper or other spices of your choice
  • dill or parsley leaves or cilantro – optional
  • sour cream – optional

Preparation:

In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Peel and cut the beets, and let them boil for about 15-20 min, not adding other vegetables. I put some vinegar (about 1/4 cup) into borshch immediately after I put the beets in – this helps to ensure the color of the soup remains bright purple and does not fade. You can add 1-2 tbs of sugar right away, or you may wait and see how sweet the beets are – you may end up not needing any sugar at all.

Peel and cut parsley roots an carrots, put them into the pot, bring back to boil. After carrots you can add vegetables one after another with no wait, in the following order:

  • celery
  • cabbage
  • potatoes

Add salt and other spices to taste. Check whether you need more vinegar and/or sugar – the soup should be “sweet and sour”.  By this time the soup should be boiling for about 30 – 35 min. Wait another 5 min, cut the plum tomato and put in into the soup.  In another five minutes it should be ready – taste to see whether the potatoes are tender.  Leave the soup to stay on the warm surface for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve with dill or parsley leaves and add 1 tsb of sour cream per serving (put it directly in the serving bowl). Some people just hate sour cream and/or dill. I used to say, that it’s not a real borshch then, but… as long as people like it, I do not mind 🙂

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