Meatless Ukrainian Borsch

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READY IN: 1hr 45mins
Recipe by Cheri K

I modified the family recipe for borsch when we went through a five year vegetarian phase. Even though we eat meat again, we still prefer this version. This uses mushrooms in place of beef. My grandmother is from Novohrad-Volynsk and while she'd be horrified that I removed the meat, I can't eat this soup without thinking of her. This is my first posted recipe, I hope someone else enjoys it, too.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Boil some water for blanching the beets. Scrub the beets vigorously with a brush until all of the dirt is off of them and they are as clean as possible. Cook for five minutes in the boiling water.
  2. Remove the beets from heat, take a strainer and put it into a large bowl. Dump the beets into the strainer but reserve the beet water - it will be a nice, bright red/purple color.
  3. Let the beets cool enough to handle. While they are cooling, strain the liquid reserved again through a mesh strainer into another bowl to catch any sediment or beet fibers left behind.
  4. Peel and dice the beets (do not put beet peelings in a garbage disposal). If you immediately clean your cutting board and wash your hands with warm soapy water the beets should not stain them.
  5. Return the beets and the reserved liquid to a stock pot. Add the potatoes and carrots. Cover with additional water, if necessary. Water should be about an inch above the vegetables, or higher if you like lots of broth. I do not - I was taught Ukrainian borsch should be so thick with vegetables that you can stand a spoon up in the bowl.
  6. Cook the potato-beet-carrot mixture about 30 minutes over medium-high heat.
  7. Sauté mushrooms, cabbage and onion in oil, until soft. Stir in tomato paste and continue cooking until well blended. Add mixture to pot.
  8. Add bouillon cube to pot.
  9. Cover and let cook over low-medium heat for another 30-45 minutes.
  10. Now season hot soup to taste, using salt, pepper, garlic powder, vegetable bouillon, sugar and vinegar. My personal preference is 5 tbs. sugar and 3 tbs. white vinegar but the best thing you can do is add one of each and stir, tasting after each addition before adding more. Once you know how you prefer the soup to taste (more sweet or more tart) than take note of those measurements and use them in the future.
  11. If possible, let the soup sit for a few hours to brighten the flavor, and reheat when ready to serve.
  12. Serve in bowls with dollops of sour cream and parsley as garnish.

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