Well today I planned on making Borsch. I walked all the way out to the produce market to get all the ingredients, collected them all, and went to checkout. It was then that I realized I didn’t have my wallet. Basically, my life is a giant irony. It’s been a sad day overall.
Still, I want to share with you all the magic of this soup. Let me first say that everyone in Ukraine has their own way of making borsch. There is no one method of making it. But for those of you who have enjoyed my soup, then read on and try it out! It’s absolutely delicious, good for you, and cheap to make. It’s the best food you could possibly eat!
Let’s start with the ingredients:
1 cup stew meat or chicken
3-4 quarts beef or chicken stock
2 large beets or 4 small ones (tennis ball sized)
1 large onion (or again, two small ones)
1 large carrot (or again…two small ones)
1 teaspoon Citric Acid (I know this might be hard to find, so you can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead.)
1/3 head of cabbage shredded thinly
3 medium potatoes cut into small fingers
1 tomato, smashed (or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste – some people even use ketchup or spaghetti sauce…)
Sour cream, for serving
HOW TO MAKE!
First, start boiling chicken or beef stock. Add the bay leaf. If you want it to be more of a liquidy soup (or if you have to feed more people) you can add more broth or stock.
Brown the stew meat or the chicken in an oiled pan with some salt and pepper and set aside. Make sure not to overcook or it will be rubbery.
Grate the beet and carrot, and dice the onion. There should be about 1 1/2 cups of each. But I like a LOT of beet (the beet gives the distinct color and flavor) so I go for about 3 cups of that. Go with your gut. If there is a vegetable you don’t like so much, don’t put so much of it in.
Put the onion, beet and carrot in a frying pan and fry until tender in an oiled pan. Be careful not to burn the beet. Add citric acid and maybe a few tablespoons of water to help tenderize it and keep it from burning.
Put your potatoes in the boiling broth to start cooking them. After about 10 minutes I put in the cabbage, because if they are shredded thinly enough, they take less time to cook. Then after about 5 minutes I add the meat, and the fried vegetables, and the smashed tomato.
Now for the seasoning. Taste your borsch to see where it’s at. If it needs salt, add more. If not, don’t go crazy. Go with what seasonings you like. A handful of fresh parsley at the very end of the cooking is wonderful. To be perfectly honest with you, I often depend on this little packet of stuff that I got from Ukraine to season my borshch:
So if your Borsch turns out horribly DON’T BLAME ME!! I’ve had a few pots of the stuff that just didn’t taste right (usually because I used too much water or too much salt) so don’t be afraid. If you are tasting along the way yours should turn out fine. If you are able to procure some sunflower oil, that’s AWESOME! Fry your ingredients with that! But I just use vegetable oil.
Good luck!! Serve it with some nice black rye (and of course, a dollop of sour cream)! Let me know if you have any questions.
EDIT: Some of you have come to me with concerns about the proportions of seasonings. I would start off with a teaspoon of each. From there, just go with what you like best. Sorry I can’t be more specific, since I haven’t really measured it all while cooking yet. You can even put some MSG (flavor enhancer) which is what is in my ukrainian seasoning packets.