Yid.Dish: Borsht

borsht-2

One of the great things about Passover in Ukraine is that many of the dishes we normally eat are naturally kosher for Pesach. A prime example is borsht, perhaps the most well-known and beloved example of Ukrainian cuisine. Every Ukrainian woman has her own version and so I present to you my very own, one of a kind, borsht recipe.

You will need:

  • 5 beets
  • 5 potatoes, any variety
  • 1 head of white cabbage
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 medium celery root
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 5 bay leaves (optional)
  • pomegranate juice (or lemon and sugar)
  • salt and pepper
  • lots and lots of water

Begin by boiling the beets, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and celery root separately! This is very important and ensures that the vegetables maintain their flavor. Except for the beets, which require about 30-40 minutes to boil, each of the vegetables should take only 15-20 minutes. After they’re boiled, grate the vegetables and combine all the water into one large pot. Now finely chop red pepper, onion, garlic, and parsley.

borsht-1

Here you see all the ingredients laid out ready to be added. From left to right, bottom to top: potatoes; beets; cabbage; a mix of peppers, onions, garlic, and parsley; carrots; and celery root.

We’re ready to make the soup now. Traditional borsht recipes often call for a beef or sometimes chicken base, but I prefer vegetable stock. Among other advantages, by keeping your borsht meat-free, you can add sour cream to it when you eat it (and in Ukraine, it is unheard of to eat borsht without sour cream!). Bring all that water flavored with our vegetables to a boil, and then quickly put on low heat. Add the veggies and bay leaves and stir. You know how thick you like your soup. Add water until your borsht is the desired thickness. This should already be a huge amount of soup (see picture). Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

borsht-3

By now the soup should taste pretty solidly of our vegetables, and it’s time for my secret ingredient*. Add about 1/8 liter of pomegranate juice (keep stirring it in and tasting until it’s just right). If you don’t have pomegranate juice handy, or want to go with a more traditional recipe, add sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice instead. Stir for another 5 minutes, and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Your borsht is already done, but as is the rule with soups, the longer you can leave it simmering, the better it will taste. When it’s finally done, Serve with a dab of sour cream. As for the rest, remove from heat and let cool completely before refrigerating.

Priatnovo apetita!

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8 Responses to “Yid.Dish: Borsht”

  1. Birdy Says:

    The name of this classic Ukrainian soup is borshch (no “t”). And if you’re writing an article about a Ukrainian soup, you should end off with the Ukrainian phrase “Smachnoho” rather than the Russian one.

  2. Michelle Arkow Says:

    You are correct; what we in English call “borsht” is actually борщ (pronounced “borshch”) in both Russian and Ukrainian. I don’t know why the English convention is to write and ponounce the dish with a “t.” As for the end phrase, in Dnepropetrovsk, where I live, as with most of eastern Ukraine, the spoken language is Russian, not Ukrainian. Therefore, when we wish each other a pleasant appetite, we say it in Russian: приятного аппетита!

  3. Adam Jackson, Editor-in-Chief Says:

    This looks delicious. I’m very intrigued by the pomegranate juice, something that I’ve only thought was used much in the Middle East (Iran?) and perhaps Georgia (don’t quote me on that — maybe someone else knows what I’m thinking of…)

    Boiling the vegetables separately is an interesting technique you also see in dishes like Ratatouille, where vegetables that later get mixed together are first cooked individually. It makes more work, but a better flavour there and, no doubt, here as well.

    I’m sure children would find painting the sour cream into the borshch/borscht very entertaining: it makes whitish-pink swirls when you mix it in. even more fun, is painting a beetroot piece into plain sour cream on a plate — pink in white. Whoever said you shouldn’t play with your food? :-)

  4. Michelle Arkow Says:

    There’s a reason you haven’t heard of pomegranate juice in Ukrainian food– it is NOT your typical ingredient! I actually discovered it by accident during one of my earlier experiments with borsht. I had boiled my vegetables (all together that time) before realizing that the water wouldn’t be nearly enough. Now, the water in Dnepropetrovsk is not potable, so I was really out. I added some vegetable stock from my fridge, but still needed more. Nearly frantic, I looked for anything else I could add– orange juice, milk… POMEGRANATE JUICE! Well, I thought, it’s the same color. What could possibly go wrong? The rest is history.

  5. Asparagus Soup Says:

    Thank you! I’ve been searching for a borscht recipe, and the only ones I found gave inadequate directions for such a daunting dish. This, however, looks great.

  6. Mish Says:

    Pomegranite molasses (cooked down juice) will also work well as opposed to juice. I get it at a Middle Eastern market but I’m sure you can find it online (only a couple dollars a bottle). I also add a little to lentil soup which makes it taste similar to Persian pomegranite soup called Ash-e Anar.

  7. foodcreate Says:

    Delicious! I love broscht recipe.yours looks soooooo! Delicious:)

    Thanks for sharing:)

    and you can visit me if I can visit you:)

    Welcome!
    foodcreate

  8. Brahim Says:

    Very good recipe.

    It is looks great and Delicious.

    foodbestof.blogspot.com

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