What Is Ukrainian Borscht and How to Cook It


borscht_cWhat is Ukrainian borscht? On the one hand, borscht is a Ukrainian national soup, but on the other hand it is not a soup at all. There are zillions kinds of soup, but BORSCHT is the only one. What is that special about Ukrainian borscht?

Ukrainian borscht recipe...Apparently it is practically impossible to describe! There is no a single "correct way" of cooking borscht. Each hostess has her own idea about ingredients and the way borscht has to be cooked. As a result we have as many versions of Ukrainian borscht recipes as many hostesses exist in Ukraine.

Borscht is not just a regular meal. It is one of the Ukraine's national symbols. It took its name from the word "br'sch" which means beet in old Slavic language. Since the time immemorial there is nothing better than to eat a big bowl of hot borsch when you come from the cold winter street. It will warm up your soul and body, bring much more optimism to your life.

Each region in Ukraine has its own borscht recipe. All the recipes have different names to distinguish them from each other. But there is one thing which they have in common. The real borscht is a home made meal. You can try borscht at some restaurant, but even the best of them can offer you no more than quite decent borscht. It will never have that special home taste and spirit which made Ukraine famous for its borscht.

Ukrainian borscht can be cooked in number of ways. Every hostess can change not only borscht ingredients from time to time, but also the way of cooking every time she cooks borscht. Everything depends on her today mood. The main ingredients still remain the same - cabbage, beets, potatoes, onions, garlic, sour cream, and dill. Depending on a season, borscht can be served hot and cold, with cold varieties often being light or vegetarian.

Hot borscht is a staple hearty lunch meal in the cold months of Ukrainian autumn and winter. It is usually a meal by itself and is accompanied by a few slices of dark and dense rye bread. In order to make it, you will first need to cook a stock. Beef bone marrow, meaty pork bones, or chicken, with an addition of root vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and parsley stalks, should be simmered for at least three hours. After that, the stock is filtered, and the cooked meat is separated from the bones and returned to the pot, while the bones and vegetables are thrown away. Meanwhile, thinly shred 1 medium-size cabbage and a few small beets, and cube about 4-5 peeled potatoes. Shredded beets have to be sprinkled with lemon juice not to lose their deep colour. Add potatoes, beets and cabbage to the pot, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are soft. While the vegetables are being cooked, prepare "zapravka": in a heavy skillet, saute in lard or goose fat 1 thinly sliced onion and 1 chopped carrot. Add about 2 tbsp tomato paste, salt, sugar and pepper to taste, and saute for about 10 minutes more. Add to the pot and simmer for additional 5 minutes. When the borscht is almost ready, check again for the spices, and add a bunch of chopped dill and a few cloves of minced garlic. Remove from the heat and let stand for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve borscht hot with "smetana" (home-made sour cream), sourdough bread or "pampushki" (hot rounds buns with chopped garlic), and a tiny glass of "horilka z pertsem" (Ukrainian vodka brewed with hot pepper). For the Ukrainians, a pot of borsht usually lasts a couple of days, and it is especially delicious on the following day.



0 #1 Dick 2009-04-29 17:39 isn't it "borsch" rather than "borscht"? Quote

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