Olga’s Borsch Recipe

As some of you know, Olga makes GREAT borsch, the traditional Russian beet soup.

This is her recipe:

Preparation time: 3 – 4 hours

  • 3-4 medium sized beets
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • Half of a small green cabbage
  • 1-2 chicken fillet breasts or the equivalent of beef or turkey (the meat can also be on the bone)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 pepper corns (or ground pepper)
  • 2-3 bullion cubes, optional (I usually add bullion it if I use chicken for the stock, but you don’t have to do it. Beef and other meats are flavorful enough by themselves)
  • 1-2 Tsp white vinegar
  • Salt to flavor
  • Parsley to flavor
  • Dill to flavor

Boil the beets beforehand. Don’t cut them, don’t peal them, just wash and cook them with a lot of water. You check their readiness the same way you check potatoes. (It will take about 3 hours to cook the beets.)

Shred Cabbage and set aside for later.

Rinse the meat, put in a large pot and fill with water leaving 2-3 inches on top. Add one onion and bay leaf. Bring to boil, continually skim off the foam on top before the water starts boiling.

(The time for preparing the soup depends on the time it takes the meat to cook. For chicken it takes 1 hour, for beef, turkey or pork – about 2 hours.)

When the water starts boiling reduce the heat, add salt and pepper corn (or ground pepper) and shredded cabbage.

Peal potatoes and cut in bite-size chunks. Add them to soup 20 minutes before it is done (if the potatoes cook too long, they will be too soft).

Chop the second onion and grate the carrots. In a skillet sauté the onion until golden then add carrots and keep sautéing for a few more minutes. Add to the soup 5 minutes before it’s done.

Right after that take out the meat, cut into bite size chunks and put back into the soup.

Add bullion cubes. Remove the whole onion and throw away (unless you like boiled onion, which I don’t).

Peal beets, grate them and add to the soup 1 minute before it’s done. Immediately after that, add vinegar. Start with 1 Tsp and taste the soup. You have to be careful with vinegar because if you put too much, it will make the soup bitter. Add more if you need it. Vinegar will keep the color in. Add parsley and dill. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

You are done. Serve it with sour cream, freshly chopped parsley and dill (and dark rye bread!).

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