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Darya’s Ukrainian Borscht Recipe

Posted on April 16th, 2014 by Manu

Borscht_by_Darya MeadWe try to eat with the seasons, forgoing strawberries in February or pumpkin lattes in May. We also like to bake and cook in accordance with holidays or rituals; macaroons for Passover, corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day and noodles signifying long life in the Chinese tradition around Chinese New Year! What about cooking or baking in line with world events? Truth be told, my heritage is partly Ukrainian, but when the proverbial stuff hit the fan in Eastern Europe last month, I felt moved to make Ukrainian borscht as some kind of food solidarity. I’ve always adored the hearty fare of dark bread, sour cream, smoked fish and the purple explosion of a soup/ stew made from beets, called borscht. There is a joke in my family, that I always have some beets boiling on the stove and I have been known to have burned a few pots in my day, but I make a mean borscht! I knew it would be a tough sell to my two boys, so I decided to add some beef, normally I prefer a vegetarian recipe, but the meat adds a rich flavor too and you don’t need much to change the tenor of the soup. Borscht is colorful, a mix of beets, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes. If you add sour cream to the hot or cold soup it makes it a startling pinkish hue. I often thinly slice and salt radishes and cucumbers and offer a soft or hard cheese and some dense or yummy warmed bread to go with the meal. We discussed the events in the Ukraine and talked about not only our heritage, but the history of the region. I wouldn’t say the borscht was a marquee meal but definitely worth the effort given the discussion and introduction of the cuisine.

Darya’s Ukrainian Borscht Recipe

  •  1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •  2 pounds short ribs (this time I just used stew meat)

    Borscht cooking by Darya Mead

    Borscht cooking by Darya Mead

  •  Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  2 medium onions, diced (I like to use red and white onions)
  •  1 cup dry white wine
  •  4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock—I used beef stock this time
  •  5 garlic cloves, minced (sometimes I use less)
  •  Celery root, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (you can also use turnips, potatoes or celery
  •  2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  •  1/2 pound cabbage, shredded (I like to mix green and purple, about ½ a small head)
  •  2 pounds beets, depending on size, 3-5 beets
  •  5 cups water
  •  1 tablespoon tomato paste (sometimes I add fresh tomatoes too)
  •  3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  3 tablespoons red-wine or apple cider vinegar
  •  fresh dill and a dollop of sour cream on top

I saute the onions garlic and meat together in olive oil, add the veggies, stock, water and tomato paste all in one pot and then add the wine, lemon juice, vinegar and salt and pepper in at the end. Sometimes I add other stuff to the mix like caraway seeds, honey and sometimes I use butter in stead of olive oil. It makes a beautifully colorful meal!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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