Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Delicious Bowl of Borscht

A Halloween weekend tradition that my husband and I started two years ago was to make a pot of borscht.  We started it the first year we were married as a practice round for Christmas Eve to make sure that it turned out right.  It turned out great (as did Christmas Eve that year) so we have kept up the tradition.  I thought this would be a good time to share a recipe with you since it has been a while since I last blogged about one (which was this brownie post).

As I mentioned, our first run at this was a practice round for Christmas Eve.  I have had this soup every Christmas Eve of my life since I can remember, it represents part of my heritage.  My grandparents both grew up in Catholic families in Ukraine - and borscht is part of a traditional meatless meal of that day.

For this recipe you will need:
  • 4 c  grated beats
  • 3/4 c shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 c chopped celery
  • 1 c green beans (cut in thirds)
  • 1 c wax beans (I get them from my Baba and Dido's garden, but they can be hard to find in grocery stores, doubling the amount of green beans will also work)
  • 1/2 c grated carrots
  • 1 package dried Shiitake mushrooms (cut finely)
  • 1 potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion
  • 1 c great northern beans
  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • butter
  • vinegar
  • 1/3 c fresh dill
  • garlic powder
  • pepper
  • salt
  • chicken broth - optional

Start out by boiling the beats with their skin on.  Once the skin comes off easily with a fork, they are done.  Use a fork to peel off the skin.  Shred or grate the beats.  Set aside.

In a large pot add 10 cups of water.  If desired, substitute chicken broth for more flavor (unless you are making a traditional meatless meal).  Add grated beats, shredded cabbage, chopped celery, green beans, wax beans, mushrooms, grated carrots and a spoonful of salt.  How much salt is a spoonful?  Whatever works for you, this is how I got the recipe from my Baba.  Bring to a boil

While the pot of ingredients is heating up finely chop the onion and saute 3/4 cup of onion in butter.  Again, I do not have an exact amount from my Baba - but but at least half a stick.  Once the onions have turned golden brown drain the butter and set aside (I like to keep mine in the fridge and use when heating up leftover varenyky.

Going back to the pot - once it has come to a boil, let it only go a few minutes before reducing the heat. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of vinegar to add flavor and help keep the bright pink color.  Mix cream of mushroom soup with a bit of the soup you are making.  Use it to help get the lumps out.  Add cream of mushroom mixture to the pot.

Mix 8 oz of sour cream with a bit of soup juice, 1/3 cup of fresh dill, sauteed onions, garlic powder and pepper.  Bring everything to a boil again.  Add sour cream mixture to the boiling soup.  After it has been boiling for about five minutes, reduce heat and let simmer for two hours.


So anyone up for trying this recipe?  Let me know what you think.  I am also available for any questions you my have.

Live in this moment and love life!


  1. Oh I love soup so much! I do have to add meat to any soups I make though, otherwise the mister won't touch it - he examines the vegetables regardless, makes faces and requires identification for each one lol

    I love that you're using fresh veggies from your grandparents' garden; that makes it even more special! :)

    1. I think in Ukraine pork is added to this soup when not served on Christmas Eve, so you may want to try that. I didn't think my hubby would be down for a meatless meal, but this is the only vegetarian food he will eat ;)

      Yes, have veggies from my grandparent's garden does make this so much more special.

  2. We also make borscht but we put beef in it. We made some last week. How nice that you make time to spend with your grandparents. That is something for all of you to appreciate. My grandmother did not make borscht, we found a recipe for it. She did make pierogi. She always filled the dumplings with stewed prunes so I was quite surprised to discover that some people filled them with a mashed potato filling or saurkraut. I guess that some fill them with meat too.

    1. Hi Linda, I think that beef would work well in borscht too. We make pierogi (but call them varenyky or pyrohy). When I was in Ukraine I learned that they filled them with prunes, but I've never tried them that way. I used mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, sauerkraut or mushrooms.

  3. Ann-

    I can't wait to try this, it sounds delicious! I hope you have been doing well. :)

    1. Thanks Naomi! You should give this recipe a try, it's one of my favorites. I hope you are doing well too, I miss you :)

  4. Every family in Russia and Ukraine has their own borscht recipe%))
    Do you speak Ukraine language?

    1. Oh how I wish I did! I taught myself the alphabet a few years back and started learning some simple phrases, but life got busy and I haven't kept at it. Do you speak Ukrainian?

    2. Nope, only Russian%) But I can understand Ukrainian pretty good.

    3. That is so great. I need start studying again :)