(Ukrainian, Russian beet soup)
Also spelled borsh, borsch, borsht (with the t silent). Called barszcz by the Polish.
4 to 6 servings
- Butter or oil -- 2-3 tablespoons
- Onion, minced -- 1
- Beets, peeled and grated -- 1 pound
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced -- 1 cup
- Beef stock or water -- 2 quarts
- Red wine vinegar -- 3-4 tablespoons
- Sugar -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Sour cream -- 1/2 cup
- Fresh dill, chopped -- 1 bunch
- Heat the butter or oil over medium flame in a large pot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Stir in the beets and tomatoes and stir to heat through. Pour in the stock or water, vinegar, sugar, sand and pepper. Taste the broth, and adjust the amount of vinegar or sugar as needed. Broth should be lightly tart-sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked yet retain their texture. Serve hot or cold in bowls garnished with a dollop of sour cream (smetana) and a sprinkling of chopped fresh dill.
- Some say a true Ukrainian borshch must have beans. Add fresh green beans or cooked white beans to the simmering soup.
- For a borshch with meat, add some chopped beef brisket, ham, sausages, beef frankfurters, or some pork ribs to the simmering soup. Use about 2-3 cups total. Simmer until the meat is tender.
- Try using a variety of vegetables. Sauté some chopped carrots, celery, celery root, parsley root or mushrooms with the onions. Add some shredded cabbage, chunks of potato, parsnip, fresh green beans or cooked white beans to the simmering soup. Use about 2-3 cups total. Substitute 1/4 cup tomato paste for the chopped tomatoes.
- Traditionally, borshch achieved its sour twang by being left to ferment for a few days. These days vinegar speeds the process up. Other ingredients are often used in place of vinegar to add a sour flavor. These include lemon juice, pickle juice, rhubarb juice or fermented beet kvas.
- Use rubber gloves when peeling and grating the beets to avoid taining your hands. The beets can be grated on a box grater, in a food processor, or you can cut them into a small dice if you prefer.