“The Best Ever!” Russian Borsch Soup Recipe

25 Apr

If you were to ask me to name three traditional Russian dishes I would say, without any hesitation, they are pelmeni, blini (blintz), and borsch. Pelmeni are a variation of dumplings and usually made with a meat inside; blintz are very thin pancakes and are exactly like french crepes or Brazilian panquecas. So  even though any Russian person would say that these two dishes are truly from Russian cuisine, there are still variations of it that can be found throughout the world. However no matter how hard you try to find any dish resembling borsch, I bet you, your search would give no results. Therefore, I can definitely say that borsch truly has a Russian origin and actually is made in Russia very often on an everyday basis.

So what is borsch? It is a very hearty soup that has two major ingredients that it can’t be made without: beats and cabbage. I don’t think I can give any objective description of it since I’ve been eating it my whole life and it’s my absolutely most favorite dish in the world! Michelle, on other hand, would be a better judge of this soup’s taste. When I was describing it to her she couldn’t imagine how cabbage and beats could be in the soup, however when she tried it first time she liked it right away. So did my husband. He never even heard of it before he met me, but now he’s the one who gives me a little bits of advice on how to make it better.

There are many variations of this soup, and everyone makes it differently according to their own taste and family recipe. For example, it could be done with beef, pork, lamb, ribs, or chicken. It could also be meatless for a vegetarian type. After years of perfecting this recipe, I finally came to the conclusion that making it ribs is the best way, however it doesn’t get any less hearty with other types of meat; it’s just a different flavor.

All right, let’s get cooking. :)

Ingredients:

– 1 Rack of Ribs (or any other meat you’d like to cook it with);

– 6-8 Large Potatoes;

– 6 Large Beats (do NOT use can ones!);

– 2-3 Carrots;

– 1 Onion;

– 3-4 Cloves of Garlic;

– 2-3 Tomatoes;

– 1 Can of Tomato Sauce;

– 1 Large Cabbage;

– Salt, Pepper, Bay Leaf, Knorr beef flavor bouillon (optional);

– 1 Can of Kidney or Pinto Beans (optional);

– 1 Bell Pepper (optional);

– Sour cream or mayo.

1. First of all we need to make the broth. I believe that good meaty broth makes all the difference in any soup, therefore I let the meat boil for a very long time, at least 3-4 hours. Add whole black pepper and bay leaf to your meat and let it boil. Once you notice that the water starts to evaporate from the pot, add hot boiled water to it and keep cooking your meat.

***Boiling your meat will take most of this soup’s time, the rest should take 15-20 minutes before your soup is done.

2. After you cook your meat, it’s time to make the rest of the ingredients.

– Peel potatoes, cut it into cubes, and add it to the broth.

– Slice onion and garlic and fry it in a separate pot or a tall frying pan until golden brown. Make sure that the pot or a pan is roomy enough for other ingredients.

– Peel the beats and cut them into quarters each. Microwave it for 5 minutes. Slice into thin cuts or shred it after.

***Usually people just slice beats into thin cuts and either add it with the rest of the ingredients straight into the broth, which I consider just a waste of produce since it won’t bring out full flavor, or sometimes, as I was cooking it before, people slice the beats and stew it with the rest of the vegetables. However, I have just recently learned that if you microwave beats before stewing it, it intensifies and releases the full color and flavor of it, and since beats are the major part of this dish you want to make the best of it.

– Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes. Diced tomatoes from the can will do just fine. I usually use a lot of it, I think it’s a great addition to the whole flavor, that’s why I also add a can of tomato sauce as well.

– Slice bell pepper if desired. The original recipe doesn’t have bell peppers in it, however I personally think recipes are like a language, you can do whatever you like with it, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone and people still understand what you are trying to say. :)

– Peel and slice (or shred) carrots.

– Now we’ll add beats, tomatoes, bell pepper and carrots to the fried onions. Add a can of tomato sauce and a few ladles of meat broth into the mix so it will look like a stew. Close it with the lid and let it simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes. It will create very rich red-colored stew. I usually like to add a pinch of salt and a spoon of Knorr at this stage.

3. While vegetables are stewing, go ahead and shred the cabbage.

4. Rinse the beans thoroughly with cold water. Once again, the original recipe doesn’t have beans in it, it’s just my own addition, but it works great in this soup! :)

5. Remove all the bones from the broth’s meat.

6. Now that all our ingredients are ready, let’s add the stewed vegetable mix into the broth (potatoes should be cooked by now), beans, and cabbage as well. My grandma always used to say, if a spoon doesn’t stand by itself in the borsch than something is missing! Your borsch at this time should have very thick consistency to it with all the ingredients in it.

7. Let it boil for another 5 minutes and turn the heat off. It is advisable to let it stand for another 15-20 minutes before serving. I, for example, always make sure that at least an hour has passed before I serve it so it’ll be completely flavorful. However, the next day is when you really feel the full taste of it!

Serve with a spoon of sour cream or mayo on top (I prefer sour cream, but we didn’t have it this time, so I used mayo instead).

As you can see, it’s very easy to make. Besides the broth cooking time, the whole process should take you less than 30 minutes. It might sound complicated, but as any recipe, it looks this way only on the paper; in reality it’s very simple. Step one, make the broth, step two, make a vegetable stew, step three, mix it all together. Trust me, you’ll fall in love with this soup!

Hope you enjoy it!

Yours truly,

– Vita :)

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4 Responses to ““The Best Ever!” Russian Borsch Soup Recipe”

  1. Diet Drop April 25, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Your borsch is fantastic! The first time I ever tasted it, the only thing I could think might be similar is a good minestrone soup; however, borsch has a more complex, sweeter mix of flavors than minestrone, which is tomato-based, and therefore usually has a lot of salt in it. This soup has become one of those comfort-food flavors that I can enjoy anytime (as in lunch, today, please! Ha ha.) –Michelle ;)

  2. frugalfeeding April 25, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    That looks wonderful. Borsche always has such a stunning colour!

    • Diet Drop April 25, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you!

      Yes it does!!! :) -Vita.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Leg Up « Diet Drop - April 26, 2012

    […] I couldn’t do much, and I had to take a lot of breaks (the best was my lunch break to eat some of Vita’s borsch!). But it did make me feel like less of a lump. Sitting around all day with an injury can add a lot […]

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