Sunday, September 29, 2013

Borsh from Yulia's Kitchen

When September is here the chilly mornings give me a yearning for warm soup. Last weekend our daughter-in-law, Yulia, cooked up a batch of Borsh, (sometimes spelled Borsht). This is the recipe her Russian mother and grandmother prepared when she was a girl. The aroma of the beet red broth, fragrant with chicken or beef, often fills our house throughout the fall and winter. Hearty root vegetables of the north are used to prepare this never to be forgotten delight with: beets, potatoes, and carrots. Onions, garlic, and herbs intensify the flavor. Try it with a dollop of sour cream and serve with hardy peasant bread or croutons. But watch out, you could become addicted!

 Thank you, Yulia, for introducing me to your Russian delight, Borsh.


Meat (chicken--skinned and deboned or beef stew-meat) 1 ½ pounds.

Place meat in medium pot and cover with water until 2/3 filled. Bring to a medium boil and reduce to a simmer. (Cook chicken for 10-15 minutes or slowly simmer beef for 60 minutes) Remove from heat and cover.

Prepare vegetables while the meat cooks:

1 large or 2 medium beets peeled and shredded  

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/3 cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped sweet onion
1 small can tomato paste
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup peeled cubed potatoes
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper to taste
Ground oregano to taste

  1. In large skillet add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Heat, add beets and simmer for 3 minutes.

  1. Stir then add carrots. Continue to stir for another 3 minutes.

  1. Add onions and stir for a minute.

4. Add tomato paste, turn heat to low and mix in cumin and Creole seasoning. Stir well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover with a well fitting lid and remove from heat.

5. Take boiled chicken or beef from pot and cut into cubes. Skim foam from broth.

6. Add salt and cabbage to broth. Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 3-5 minutes.

7. Then add cubed potatoes and carrot-beet mixture from skillet. If water has evaporated from broth add more until pot is 2/3 full or 2 to 3 inches below top of pot. Mix well and bring soup to a boil.

     8. Finally add cubed chicken breast or beef to pot and return to boiling soup.

     9. Lower temperature to slow simmer and add 1 bay leaf, pepper, and oregano to taste.                         
     Cover partially allowing steam to escape. Cook for another 10-12 minutes.
      Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

   10. Serve with fresh chopped parsley and top with a tablespoon of sour cream. Amazing!

This is labor intensive but well worth it. I promise it is a soup you will never forget.

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