Friday, March 29, 2013

Ukrainian Borscht

It has been a while since I blogged a Russian recipe. What better recipe for a Russian blog than Borscht? It is a red beet soup that many think of when they think of food in Russia. We have a dear lady that works for my husband's parents twice a week. She lives in an apartment off of our house and has worked for the Reasoner family for over 10 years! I have been talking about having her teach to me how to make Ukrainian Borscht for a while, but you know how things go. Anyway, I randomly decided this morning that it was the day to learn. So let's get started with the fun! 

First you'll need two pans. The first one will be your main soup pan/stock pot. You'll want to fill it about halfway to two-thirds full with water and boil your meat. I know boiling meat is not ideal, but the meat is not the star of the show. :) We like to use chicken. You can use whatever you like. I've had it with pork, beef and chicken. Some people cook it with no meat at all. Whatever meat you choose to use you'll need to cut it into chunks before placing it into the water. Keep an eye on the meet so that it doesn't overcook. When your meat is cooked, just turn off the heat and cover your pan to keep the water hot.

Your second pan will be for sauteing most of your vegetables. To begin, heat some oil and add chopped 

Next come the carrots!  

Add the shredded carrots to the onions.

At this point the smell has begun to fill the house! The family knows dinner is cooking. :) 
Now it's time for the beets. 

Shred them and add them to the onions and carrots. 

Now it's time to add some seasonings. She just dumps in what she feels is right so this is tricky. She uses Basil, Dill, Bay leaves, Parsley, salt and pepper to taste. 

Now for a couple strange ingredients. Ketchup changed Russia forever! They LOVE it, and they use in everything for everything. I honestly prefer paste or sauce, but you can make that decision on your own. She put in about 1/4 cup with the vegetables.   

The other strange ingredient is an apple. She peeled it first, then shredded it down to the core. It turned into a mush which she added to the cooking vegetables.

Now it's time for garlic. Oh how I love garlic! Mince them up (4 or 5 cloves) and add them to the vegetables.

Yummy potatoes. You'll need 5-8 potatoes or so, depending on size. 
At this point, you should turn the heat off of your vegetables and start boiling your main soup pot with the water and meat in it.

Chop them up and add them to the pot with the water and meat. 

Let the potatoes boil while you chop some cabbage. She used about half of a small-medium head of cabbage. 

Now add your sauteed vegetables and cabbage into your main soup pot. 

Let this simmer for 20-30 minutes. You can eat it right away, or you can let it sit in your fridge overnight. The flavors become stronger and the color gets redder! :) It should be served with sour cream. 

There are several foods I really enjoy here in Russia, but this is still my favorite! :) Let me know if you try it  and how it comes out. I must say though that if you really want to enjoy true Russian-Ukrainian Borscht, you'll just have to come visit us here. 

I'm going to attempt to put this in easy to read recipe form, but I must add that Borscht is one of those things that everyone does differently. Even Luba does it differently sometimes if we don't have something or need to use something up. (like a red pepper for example) I have had Borscht from several different people and all of them tasted very different! 

Ukrainian Borscht

1 lb of chicken breast, cut in chunks
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 large carrots, shredded
3-4 beets shredded
1 T Parsley
1 T Basil
1 T Dill
3-4 Bay leaves
1/4 C Ketchup
1 apple, shredded
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
5-7 potatoes, cubed
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream

1. Boil water in a large pot and add chicken, turn off heat. 
2. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, carrots, beets, seasonings, Ketchup, apple and garlic.
3. Bring water to a boil once again, and add potatoes, cabbage and sauteed vegetables. 
4. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
5. Enjoy! :)


  1. Wow, I had no idea she put apples and ketchup in it, you can't even taste the apples!

  2. I was wondering if she still boils the beets first or if she threw that step out the window? That'd be nice because boiling the beets normally takes like 2hrs at least!