You just have to pose the question about the original borscht recipe and you will get as many answers as there are housewives because each of them has her own recipe. Abroad, borscht is attributed to Russian cuisine, but the hearty stew is in fact Ukrainian. The borscht ingredients vary according to the seasonal vegetables on offer. The rule of all borschts is that the beets should be cooked separately from the other vegetables. Once cooked every borscht should be left to stand for at least 30 minutes, better overnight. This is my mother’s recipe with my own spin on it.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck or brisket in one piece, trimmed of excess fat
- 10 cups water
- 2 medium onions: 1 left whole and 1 onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots: 1 left whole and 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 medium beets, peeled and grated
- 2 1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
- 3 roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 cups green cabbage (packed), chopped
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot place the meat with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and skim any froth that forms and reduce heat to low. Add the whole onion and carrot and the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer partially covered, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the cooked vegatables from the meat stock. Cut the meat into bite size pieces and put back into the meat stock.
- While the stock cooks, saute the beets in 1 tablespoon olive oil, add tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and 1 cup meat stock (from step #1) and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In another saucepan, saute onions, carrots, garlic, paprika, dill, thyme and rosemary in 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 10 minutes.
- Add step # 2 and 3 to the meat stock. Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Then add cabbage and cook another 15-20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Adjust seasoning as needed.
- To serve: sprinkle with the fresh herbs (dill, parsley) and add a small dollop of sour cream to each portion. Mix the sour cream well into the soup.