Borsch – Борщ

Borsch is probably the most well-known Slavic food. I grew up eating it regularly and have always loved it. This soup is so full of nutrients, you can just feel the vitamins as you eat each delicious spoonful.

I grew up in Central New York, where my parents have a beautiful property. Every year they plant a garden and grow all kinds of vegetables. During summer vacation I would stroll through the dewy grass and pull out beets, carrots, onions and garlic out of the rich soil.

Today, I walk through the aisles of the farmer’s market, loading my basket and dreaming of one day once again breathing the fresh air and enjoying my own garden. Although it’s not the same, the Borsch is still a great connection to think of the roots of our food. Not only is it fantastic during the summer when all the produce is amazingly fresh, but it’s such a comforting dish to enjoy in the cold winter months, whether you live in snowy New York, or sunny Florida.

 

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients:

8 oz chuck beef, cut into bite sized pieces

7 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups, 2-3 gold potatoes, cut into ½ in cubes

2 cups, cabbage

1 medium onion, minced

1 small carrot, shredded

2 ¼ cups beets, peeled and julienne into 1/8 inch

1 cup water or tomato juice

1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

3 garlic cloves, minced

dill and green onion, to garnish

IMG_2361 In a small pot, place the beef and pour in enough water to barely cover meat. Season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 1-1 ½ hours, until fork tender, while cooking the borsch.

You can certainly omit the chicken broth and just use beef broth that you’ll get when cooking the beef. You can also add some beef bones and add 11 cups of water to the pot. Strain the broth when the beef is falling apart and fork-tender. Return the broth to the pot and continue with the recipe.

However, I prefer using chicken broth and cooking a bit of beef in a small pot on the side, while I am making the Borsch in a big pot.

In a large pot, bring the water and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add potatoes and cabbage.  IMG_2406 IMG_3956 Meanwhile, melt 1-1 ½ Tablespoons butter on medium heat in a skillet. Add onions, season with ¼ tsp salt, cook until translucent, about 3 min, stirring frequently. Add carrots, season with ¼ teaspoon salt and continue cooking until soft, about 4 min. Add to the soup.  IMG_2423 Julienne beets.  IMG_4041 In the same skillet that you used for the carrots and onions, combine beets, water (or tomato juice), tomatoes or tomato sauce, lemon juice and sugar. Season with 1 ½ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper. The lemon juice will keep the beets a beautiful, vibrant red and I also love the slight tang that they give the borscht. The sugar balances out the acidity of the lemon juice.  IMG_2378 Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on med heat for 25-35 min, or until beets are tender. Add minced garlic cloves.  IMG_2400 When the potatoes are tender, add the beets and beef to the Borsch. By this time, the beef should be fork-tender. IMG_2432 If you like the consistency of the soup, drain the beef, if you like the soup to be thinner, drain the beef through a fine mesh sieve and add the beef liquid to the soup as well. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with finely chopped fresh dill and green onions. We Russians like to add a dollop of sour cream to our bowl of Borsch. IMG_2578

 

Borsch
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: Russian
Serves: 10
Ingredients
Yield: 10 servings
  • 8 oz chuck beef, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 7 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups, 2-3 gold potatoes, cut into ½ in cubes
  • 2 cups, cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 2 ¼ cups beets, peeled and julienned into ⅛ inch
  • 1 cup water or tomato juice
  • 1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • dill and green onion, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, place the beef and pour in enough water to barely cover meat.
  2. Season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 1-1 ½ hours, until fork tender, while cooking the borsch.
  3. In a large pot, bring the water and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add potatoes and cabbage.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 1-1 ½ Tablespoons butter on medium heat in a skillet.
  5. Add onions, season with ¼ tsp salt, cook until translucent, about 3 min, stirring frequently.
  6. Add carrots, season with ¼ teaspoon salt and continue cooking until soft, about 4 min. Add to the soup.
  7. Julienne beets.
  8. In the same skillet that you used for the carrots and onions, combine beets, water (or tomato juice), tomatoes or tomato sauce, lemon juice and sugar. Season with 1 ½ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp ground black pepper.
  9. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on med heat for 25-35 min, or until beets are tender.
  10. Add minced garlic cloves.
  11. When the potatoes are tender, add the beets and beef to the Borsch. (if you like the consistency of your soup to be thinner, add some of the broth you cooked the beef in)
  12. Garnish with dill and green onion, if desired add a dollop of sour cream.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Gulyana says

    Beautiful presentation! I love borsch, my favorite in the winter nights and summer days also, and it tastes better the next day :)

  2. Shalom says

    Wow this was DELICIOUS! And all this time I was convinced that a made the best borsch ;-). Thank u for posting this because this is the only way I will be making it from now on!

  3. Darinee says

    Ольга, я давно не встречала настоящий борщ на свекле. Все-таки сейчас чаще встречаешь томатный.

    • says

      Darinee,
      Borsch is my favorite Russian soup and I definitely can’t imagine it without the beets. Beets are wonderful. It’s too bad not many people appreciate them enough:).

  4. says

    I am glad you posted this recipe, it’s my favorite, I always craving it, but every time I am making it, it’s something missing I just couldn’t figure out what, now I see, I wasn’t using the lemon juice, the beef, etc. From now on I will make exactly like this. I love beets. Thank you for posting.

    • says

      I’m so glad to hear that this recipe was helpful for you. Borsch is my favorite soup for sure. It’s so delicious. I’m making a huge pot of it tomorrow, because you reminded me of it and now I’m craving it, Veronika.

  5. says

    I love beets, I don’t know why so many people don’t like beets, when you tell them they are like: what is that? or what do you do with that? funny…

  6. Tatyana says

    Hi Olga! Great job on making the borscht ;) I cook mine almost the same way and I am glad there are still people who can cook the real borscht ;) God bless!

  7. says

    Wow, beautiful pictures! I just found your site and am in love with all the Russian recipes. I love the beauty of borscht. I just posted a recipe for borscht on my website and it’s amazing how different the prep can be. I think everybody’s borcht recipe is different. In fact, my borscht from week to week might even taste different! Borscht just has that reputation. Cheers from a fellow Russian.

    • says

      Thanks, Irina! Yep, you’re certainly right that every cook has their own version of Borsch, kind of like Chicken Noodle Soup too. The best loved recipes are the ones that everybody puts their special twist on:).

    • says

      Yes, it is delicious. I think the most important thing is that this is a delicious and healthy soup, enjoyed by many nationalities, Natalia.

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