Yuliya's Blog: Russian Food for Lazy Cooks and More

Classic Borscht

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Russian borscht, Russian borsch, ukrainian borscht, Ukrainian borsch, Russian beet soup, Russian cabbage soup

Borscht is the quintessential Eastern European soup that is most often associated with Russian and Ukrainian cuisine. There are many variations: it can be made with beef or with pork, and with or without tomatoes or tomato paste. The two ingredients borscht always has are beets and cabbage. Beets give this soup its striking rich crimson color. In North America, borscht is somehow regarded as a meatless or even a vegetarian soup. Even though borscht can be made without meat, the taste would not be the same. Meat gives this soup its rich flavor and makes the vegetables taste more mellow. In fact, using pork or beef gives borscht a different taste. Ukrainian borscht is generally made with pork and is richer and fattier, whereas Russian borscht can be made either with pork or with beef, which tends to be leaner. It also helps to have meat with a bone since it makes more flavorful stock. I was always taught that vegetables for borscht should be diced/shredded finely, and in practice, it makes borscht taste more mellow and less cabbage-like. And remember – borscht, like most cabbage-based dishes, tastes better on the next day. Borscht is often served with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of Borodinskiy bread.



One thought on “Classic Borscht

  1. John Fisher

    My wife is from Russia, and she cooks borsch about once every two weeks. She always adds potatoes and carrots to the recipe too, and sometimes kidney beans. It can also be made with chicken instead of beef or pork, if someone is looking for a a lower fat version of this very tasty soup. Most Russian people I know will put a dollopr of sour cream in the soup when they’re ready to eat it; however, I prefer to put mayonaisse in mine.

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