Borsch/Borscht (Борщ)

Borsch/Borscht (Борщ)

When I finally moved to Moscow in 2009, my specialty was chicken quesadillas. I thought I was a great cook… Enter my mother-in-law. She is an excellent cook. She doesn’t use recipes at all and she cooks every meal from scratch. It’s almost like muscle memory. A splash of this, a dash of that, a handful of flower and viola!… An amazing meal. However, eating her meals versus replicating her meals are two very different things. I would try to shadow her in the kitchen and take notes on how to make these dishes. This might sound simple, but she made the same dishes differently every time! Sometimes she used ketchup, sometimes no ketchup… sometimes she added tomato, sometimes no tomato… I honestly thought she was messing with me! Anyways, after watching her make borsch a couple times and after enjoying the traditionally Ukrainian soup at every restaurant, I decided to try it on my own.
Beets are not something that I remember every eating before moving to Russia. Actually purchasing them at the store was a bit of a challenge for me. I didn’t know how to pick them, what color to get, what size was best, etc. Plus, they are always so leafy and dirty… I didn’t want to make a mess 😉 So, needless to say, my first attempt at borsch turned into my own specialty… white borsch. Now, unless you are a moron like me…. This is not a real thing. And the numerous Russians that my husband shared this story with will forever think I am a complete idiot for even attempting borsch without beets. I thought it was being innovative 😉

Well…. after actually purchasing some beets and making a few more attempts at the soup, I finally received my husband’s approval. Traditionally, Ukrainian borsch is cooked in a stock of bacon fat. This sounds kinda good if you like bacon as much as I do…. But this is not American bacon. Russians have yet to grasp the concept (AKA- the amazingness) of bacon and so this wanna-be bacon fat, called salo (сало), could not be more disgusting (in my opinion). My husband, and most Russians for that matter, will eat this “bacon” cooked, frozen, or sliced raw with a piece of bread and a sliver of raw garlic… Aaannnd I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Anyways, my borsch is not perfectly traditional. I find Ukrainian borsch to be far too tangy. My version of borsch is a deliciously beefy and beety delight 😉

I use a hearty serving of beef bones in order to achieve a rich beef stock. Simmering these bones allows for a rich and flavorful beef stock to set the stage for the fresh ingredients that make up the borsch soup. The veggies you use are very important. I have yet to make borsch in America that compares with the borsch I make in Russia. The veggies are just not the same. In order to counteract this, try to buy organic, or if you have a dad that grows his own amazing produce in his garden… then you are lucky like me! 🙂 … steal some at night when he’s sleeping! (Just kidding, anytime we are in town he gives us bags and bags of fresh produce!) Fresh veggies will help to build a strong flavor for your soup. When I can’t get fresh, quality veggies, I am forced to add a bit of veggie stock to bolster the flavor. Probably not the healthiest option, but it’s a tasty one 😉




Things to keep in mind:

Beets stain everything! For some reason every time I decide to make borsch I am wearing something white. It will stain. They will also stain your hands so if you have acrylic nails, like I use to, don’t make borsch! The beets and the carrots will stain the nails and get underneath them… not pretty.

Ok… well that’s shocking… I usually have more mistakes to mention. I’m sure I will come up with more, but for now, enjoy the recipe!

Oh I almost forgot… I really don’t know how the English translation of “борщ” turned into BORSCHT. Its very strange because in Russian it is literally pronounced “borsh”… Where is the “T” at the end?… nowhere, because it doesn’t end in a “T”! But I had to add it to my title because everyone out there searching for a borsch recipe search for “borscht.” Anyways, just one of many things that irritates me 😉

 

For more help, check out my Youtube channel and watch the Tasty Mistakes Borsch How-To video! 🙂




_MG_5881

Ingredients

2 32 oz. beef broth*

6 c. water

2-3 beef bones

1 large onion

3 carrots

3 small beets

1/4 green cabbage

3-4 potatoes

3-5 baby dill pickles*

1/4 red bell pepper*

1 small diced tomato*

1 garlic clove (minced)

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. paprika*

2-3 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt

pinch black pepper

2 tbsp. Ketchup

1/4 c. oil

Sour cream for garnish

Chopped fresh dill and/or parsley for garnish

1 tbsp beef and veggie bouillon*

 

 

 

Directions

  1. Using a large pot, bring the beef broth* and water to a boil. While the broth boils, slice the cabbage into thin slivers and dice the potatoes into chunks. Add the sliced cabbage, diced potatoes, beef bones, and bay leaves to the broth and continue to boil for 30 minutes. While the broth is boiling, prepare the beet mixture.
  2.  
    _MG_5925
     

  3. Peel the beets, carrots, and onion and slice them into matchsticks or slivers. Then dice the bell pepper*, tomato*, and pickles*.




  4. _MG_5931
     

  5. Heat the oil on high in a large saucepan. Add the beets, carrots, and onion and fry until the carrots and beets are tender.
  6.  

  7. Once tender, add the bell pepper*, tomato*, pickles*, ketchup, minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt & pepper. Combine and fry for 2-3 more minutes.
  8.  




    _MG_5947
     

  9. Pour the beet mixture into the broth and stir to combine.
  10.  
    _MG_5979
     

  11. Cover and let cook on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve hot with a big dollop (or two!) of sour cream. Enjoy!

 

_MG_1177




Borsch (Борщ)
Print Recipe
This soup is even better the next day! This recipe makes enough for 8, so there are usually left overs. But if you are serving a large group, double the recipe to make sure there is enough for leftovers!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
1-1.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
1-1.5 hours
Borsch (Борщ)
Print Recipe
This soup is even better the next day! This recipe makes enough for 8, so there are usually left overs. But if you are serving a large group, double the recipe to make sure there is enough for leftovers!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
1-1.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
1-1.5 hours
Ingredients
  • 2 32 oz. beef broth See NOTE 1
  • 6 c. water
  • 2-3 beef stew bones
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 beets
  • 1/4 green cabbage
  • 3-4 small potatoes
  • 3-5 baby dill pickles* See NOTE 2
  • 1/4 red bell pepper See NOTE 2
  • 1 small tomato See NOTE 2
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. paprika See NOTE 2
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh dill or parsley for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. beef bouillon See NOTE 1
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Using a large pot, bring the beef broth* and water to a boil. While the broth boils, slice the cabbage into thin slivers and dice the potatoes into chunks. Add the sliced cabbage, diced potatoes, beef bones, and bay leaves to the broth and continue to boil for 30 minutes. While the broth is boiling, prepare the beet mixture.
  2. Peel the beets, carrots, and onion and slice them into matchsticks or slivers. Then dice the bell pepper, tomato, and pickles.
  3. Heat the oil on high in a large saucepan. Add the beets, carrots, and onion and fry until carrots and beets are tender (about 10 minutes).
  4. Once tender, add the bell pepper*, tomato*, pickles*, ketchup, minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika*, and salt & pepper. Combine and fry for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Pour the beet mixture into the broth and stir to combine.
  6. Cover and let cook on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour. Serve hot with a big dollop (or two!) of sour cream. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

NOTE 1:

The beef broth can be substituted for water. In fact, the beef broth and bouillon are only necessary if you don't have any beef bones on hand, or if the beef flavor from the bones alone is lacking.

NOTE 2:

The red bell pepper and tomato are great additions to this soup if you have them on hand. If you are like me and you never have what you need when you need it... don't worry about it. This soup recipe is awesome with, or without the pepper and tomato.

Similarly, the paprika is mainly to help add to the rich red color of this beautiful soup. If you don't have any, just skip it.

Finally, the pickles are a recent discovery of mine. I LOVE them in this soup! But once again, if you don't have any but you really want to make this soup, just skip them 🙂

4 Comments

  1. thanks for this Borscht receipe, going to try it this week and really enjoyed
    your humor and the fun site. have a good one,
    your old neighbor,
    don knopke

  2. tbkaun@gmail.com

    Thanks so much 🙂 so how did it go? It was great to hear from you! Thank you for checking out my site!

  3. It is definitely not Ukrainian borsh but everyone makes it differently.
    Russians makes good schi.
    Ukrainian borsh can be made with any meat (will make different taste, prefer pork or beef), 1 small beet is enough, cabbage added after potatoes are cooked (cabbage should have little crunch), we use tomatoes instead of ketchup, sote vegetables separately, will give better taste, add 1/2 tsp of sugar to sote beets, parsley +dill + garlic add after heat is turn off. Let’s sit a little before surve. Next day borsh should taste even better. It’s just some changes but I think they will make it taste different, try.
    I am Ukrainian. We proud of our borsh

    • Taylor Kaun

      Hi Mila! Yes, not Ukranian 🙂 I have to be careful with Eastern European dishes; it can be VERY easy to offend people! But it’s an amazing dish, so you should be proud! The sugar is an interesting addition, I will have to try you version! Thanks for the tips! I completely agree with you. There are so many variations, and they’re all great! My hairdresser is Polish and she said they make it with sausage; which sounds amazing too! Thank for checking out my site! I hope you get a chance to look at some of my other recipes 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*