Borscht is a hearty kind of soup, or more often what my mother would have called a "Eintopf" a one pot dish. There are many variations of this meal from a lot of different countries. It is said that it originates from the Ukraine, but borscht is eaten in many Eastern and Central European countries. In Poland borscht is dearly loved, so it is in Latvia, Czech, Russia, Romania, Estonia, Armenia, and even in Germany, but it was never prepared in my family. It was adopted by the Jews too, who lived in those countries. There is hot borscht and cold borscht. With meat and without meat. But borscht has to be red! The main ingredient is beetroot. I read that sometimes tomatoes are used instead, but in my opinion there have to be beetroots!
Our son' s woman came from Russia when she was a child. She did not learn to cook there, but she remembered some of the food and learned cooking it here. Although I had heard this word "borscht" in the past, it was something mysterious to me and I had never eaten it, nor did I know exactly what it was. Now, through her, I became quite familiar with it and have prepared it already several times, and it started to get almost as good as hers. I do not think it fits very much the climate here, where it is hot or very hot the bigger part of the year. But there are some months when a nice cold drifts in and the days are rainy, then it is most lovely to have something to warm us up inside. And speaking of soul food, I think borscht fits this category perfectly! (And we have nevertheless eaten it in mid summer too!)
Here is the recipe I use. There are many many more on the Internet! Suit yourself! :-)
You need a big pot, left overs are great - borscht is even tastier the next and next day!
1 kg beef (like for goulash) cut in cubes
2 cubed onions
6 whole cloves of garlic
3 medium sized beetroots, cut into pieces
4 medium sized potatoes, cubed
4 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds
1/2 medium sized white cabbage, sliced
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (not heaped)
3 tablespoons soup powder (I use gluten free)
1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste (or two)
2 liters water (or more)
salt and coarse ground black pepper
some sprigs of dill
Brown the meat, add the onion and garlic and get the flavor out for some minutes. Add the water, stir, cook for half an hour.
Throw the beetroots in, cook for 15 minutes.
Add the cabbage and the carrots, cook for 10 minutes.
Add all the spices and some olive oil (one ore two tablespoons)
Put in the potatoes and cook until they are soft.
Garnish with dill while serving.
This is not very soupy, but rich with things to bite! We like to eat it with fresh white bread and sour cream! A cool beer is good company! This meal is VERY tasty and I am so glad I came to know and learned to cook borscht! :-)
My friend Aiva is from Latvia and she cooks a different kind of borscht. I have to try her recipe too! :-)
This post was triggered by my Norwegian friend Hilde's beetroots from her garden. Have a look at her wonderful nature blog!