Prep 20 mins
Cook 2 hrs 45 mins
Borsch is the most popular soup of Ukrainian cuisine that got its name from the most important ingredient, beets, called in old Slavic, borsch. There are numerous recipes for making borsch, but this recipe is as authentic as they come. My maternal grandmother, Anna Buhal'tsev (Bell) Mersky, came from Smila Gubernyia, which is near Cherkassy and Kyiv in the Ukraine. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THAT THIS IS AN AUTHENTIC RECIPE BROUGHT TO THE U.S. WITH MY GRANDMOTHER FROM THE UKRAINE! If you wish to e-mail me you can e-mail me at: leonetti00 at aol dot com
- 1 1⁄2 lbs red beets (green tops removed)
- 1 lb lean beef chuck (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1⁄2 lb thick slab bacon (diced) or 1⁄2 lb pancetta (diced)
- 1 cup yellow onion (chopped)
- 1 carrot (peeled & grated)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon celery salt or 1 teaspoon seeds
- 2 teaspoons dill seeds
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 quarts water or 2 quarts beef broth
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large potato (peeled & diced)
- 6 cups green cabbage (shredded)
- 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
- 1 cup real sour cream
- 1⁄2 cup fresh dill (chopped)
- russian black bread
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the diced bacon or panchetta in a Dutch oven or stockpot and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat, until the fat begins to render, about 3 minutes.
- Add the beef and continue to cook, stirring, until the beef is brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.
- Remove both meats from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Add the onions and carrot to the fat in the Dutch oven or stockpot and stir to coat.
- Cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, oregano, dill seeds and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze the pot.
- Return both meats to the pot and add the water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beef is tender, about 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, place the beets on a baking sheet and brush with the oil.
- Roast until tender and can be pierced easily with a fork or knife, about 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- When the beets are cool enough to handle, trim the stem and root ends and remove the skins.
- Coarsely grate or chop and set aside.
- When the meat is tender and falling apart, add the beets, potatoes, cabbage, parsley, tomato paste and celery salt or seeds and simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes.
- Season with additional red wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar to taste.
- Ladle borsch into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a pinch of fresh dill.
- Also, serve with Russian black bread.
All my great grandparents came from Odessa, Russia. This is the authentic classic Borsh, to be sure. I had not thought to roast my beets first. This is a great improvement. Only thing different my family has always done, is to add the beet tops to the pot last. Then we do serve it with a dollop of sour cream. We have it many times during each year. I cannot look at young beet greens without thinking Borsch. And adding a whistful sigh. Thank you for posting this recipe.
I have to hand it to you, this is REALLY great borsch. The bacon is nice and roasting the beets first makes a big difference in the color and taste. Kudos to a very authentic AND great tasting soup. P.S. Use the beef broth instead of water. You won't regret it. :-)
This made enough to feed an army!! it went down so well at my dinner party - even the beet haters were converted - really delicious thank you.