Borscht Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide to Making Ukranian Beet Soup
Coming from Ukraine, borscht is one of the soups I grew up with and one of the things I miss the most. Every Russian or Ukrainian woman knows her own special borscht recipe. For many, borscht is something exotic—but once you try it, you can't forget it.
Here is a recipe for borscht I cook from time to time. Traditionally, borscht is served with pampushky, or sweet bread that resembles brioche rolls, garnished with garlic. I have included a link to my pampushky recipe at the end of this article.
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What Is Borscht?
Borscht is a traditional soup in Eastern and Central Europe, a national dish of several countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Belarus, Romania, Lithuania. It is characterized by deep red color due to the beets.
There are many different borscht recipes that contain the same ingredients, only the order of cooking and adding each ingredient varies. This is my borscht recipe, the way I cook it and the way I like it the most. Try it, and you won't regret it.
- 1 pound of beef
- 1/3 medium head of cabbage
- 4 potatoes
- 1-2 onions
- 1 carrot
- 1-2 beets, boiled or canned
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-2 laurel leaves
- sour cream
- Put the beef into the pan and add cold water. Don't try to speed up the process by adding boiling water, which will result in a thin film that will change the taste. Slow cook the beef (with meat or meat bones) to make a broth, and add salt.
- When the meat is ready, remove it from the broth.
- Prepare the cabbage I usually don't slice it—instead, I cut it in squares; to do it, cut off the stem and start slicing the cabbage lengthwise, and then slice it crosswise to make quarter-rounds. Add sliced potatoes and cabbage to the broth and cook.
- While the cabbage and potatoes are cooking, chop carrots, onions, and beets. To chop onions, first wet the blade of the knife in cold water to prevent you from "crying" while cutting the onion. Cut it in half, then slice each half lengthwise, not reaching the bottom, and then cut it crosswise.
- Fry carrot and onions in butter.
- Add beets and tomato paste to carrot and onions, stir everything, and leave to simmer on the low-medium heat until ready (watch so it doesn't burn).
- As soon as vegetables are done, add them to the broth with cooked cabbage and potato, stir, add sliced meat, dill, and parsley, and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add bay laurel leaves and let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving (actually, the longer borscht sits, the better it becomes, I like it most of all the next day after it was cooked).
- Serve borscht with sour cream.
Borscht With Pampushky
If you want to have the experience of a truly Ukrainian meal, try my recipe for pampushky, which is a must-have addition to a borscht in Ukraine.