If you have ever cooked Borscht in your life, you might have a very strong opinion about how it should be cooked. And that’s ok. Everybody cooks it differently. There is no consistent recipe for borscht. There is no agreement where it came from either. I have heard Ukrainians say that borscht has Ukrainian origin and I have heard Russians claim the same about Russia. Encyclopedia Britannica simply states that borscht has Slavic origin. And I have once read that borscht used to be the national food in Ancient Rome. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that it tastes good. So, go ahead make a pot!
This past year my kids and I started an exciting project. We are cooking our way through children’s books. It means that whenever we come across a tasty dish in a children’s book, we cook it together. (You can read more about it HERE).
Recently we came across The Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert in our library. In this book a little girl Ruth goes to visit her grandma in the
hospital. Grandma complains about food
and requests homemade borscht. Before Ruth can ask for a recipe, grandma falls asleep. Not to worry, back in her apartment building
all the neighbors are happy to help.
Despite the contradictory advice and some intense bickering between the good meaning ladies, Ruth
manages to make a pot of soup. The back
of the book has a recipe for a vegetarian borscht.
so I am sharing with you my grandma’s true, tried and tested one. It wouldn’t be me, though, if I didn’t modify
a recipe. In contrast to my grandma, I love to add mushrooms, zucchini, and beet foliage. But I avoid potatoes, tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar, and
tomato paste. That’s just me though. Do
what you like with your borscht. It’s not
going to complain, I promise. There are
so many wonderful ideas out there. Next
on my list is to try this Borscht Hong Kong Style. I want to be surprised.
a homemade stock. Beef bone marrow or
meaty pork bones are good choices. I
like to use a combination of meats. This way I get richness for the stock and
good meat to eat for kids (I almost never eat meat myself).
contrast to most recipes that suggest placing meat into a pot and topping it
with cold water. With my method all that
nasty white foam comes on top right away and I use slotted spoon to get rid of
it. I believe this method produces cleaner and
more flavorful stock.
|Go ahead, ask your kids to count 20 cups of water out loud|
When I feel fancy I add
a bouquet garnet to the pot, but it’s not necessary. It comes out tasty either way. If you do want a bouquet garnet this is how
you make it. Gather together a few of your favorite herbs. My usual three are: parsley stalks, thyme
sprigs, and bay leaves. Tie it with a
kitchen string or put it in a bouquet garnet bag. Add bouquet garnet to the pot.
three hours. After that the cooked meat is separated from the bones and returned to the pot. If you used a bouquet garnet, discard it now. If this all seems like too
much of a time investment, think about the health benefits of a homemade stock . This article does a great job explaining
6 large beets with beet greens (all the beets you see on the top pic of this post. To see benefits of eating beets check here)
1/2 16 oz bag of baby carrots (saves peeling time)
1/4 small cabbage (I’m not a big fan of cabbage, so I use the minimum amount)
1/2 small onion
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
8oz (1 package) fresh mushrooms
I like to add garlic but I didn’t have any this time.
|These are the veggies I used for my borscht|
1. Wash your veggies. I love beets. Aren’t they lovely?!
2. Cut them into stripes, circles, squares or any other shape that appeals to you. (Note: I like to use lots of beet greens. Among other things they are high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. For a full list of benefits check Food Facts).
3. Drop all the veggies into your stock and either boil them for about 10 minutes or simmer for about 20 minutes (or until beets are soft).
4. Once the borscht is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
I like to eat borscht with freshly chopped dill or parsley, dark rye bread and piled high with veggies.
But my kids don’t like to see veggies in their soup. So, I sift the veggies out and add a dollop of sour cream to their bowl of soup.
I hope you give it a try,