© Tracy Kusiewicz
Borscht with beef
This lovely soup is colourful -- and thifty
This lovely soup of Ukrainian origin was eaten in Russia well before Soviet times, but gained wide appeal during this time period. Popularized by public eateries and restaurants, this colourful and thrifty dish became one of the most recognized symbols of Russian and Slavic cuisine.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1½ hours
1 lb. (500 g) beef (brisket) or pork (brisket or ribs)
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
1 bay leaf
3 whole black peppercorns
2 c. (500 ml) julienned beets
2 tbsp. (30 ml) sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 c. (250 ml) julienned carrots
¼ c. (60 ml) tomato paste
¼ c. (60 ml) water
2 tbsp. (30 ml) sugar
1 tbsp. (15 ml) lemon juice
2 c. (500 ml) diced potatoes
3 c. (750 ml) finely sliced cabbage
6 tbsp. (90 ml) sour cream
¼ c. (60 ml) finely chopped parsley
¼ c. (60 ml) finely chopped dill
Place the meat in a large stockpot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove any foam that forms with a slotted spoon, then add salt, bay leaf, peppercorns and beets. Reduce the heat to medium and once the stock boils again remove the foam. Further reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, heat sunflower oil and sauté the onion and carrots until onion is golden, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste diluted in a 1/4 cup (60 ml) water, sugar and lemon juice, and reduce the heat to low. Sauté until most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture has the consistency of a thick pasta sauce.
Add potatoes and cabbage to the stockpot with the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add the sautéed tomato and carrot mixture. Stir and let the borscht simmer on low heat until potatoes and cabbage are tender, about 10 to 20 minutes.
Once all the vegetables are tender, remove the pot from heat; take out the meat and cut it into bite-sized pieces before returning it to the pot. Cover and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to let all the flavours blend.
To serve, ladle the hot borscht into bowls or plates, garnish with a dollop of sour cream, and finely chopped parsley and dill. Makes 6 servings.
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