Recipes from Ukraine // Quick and Simple Borsch

Yesterday’s snow had me craving warm comfort food more than ever. When we were out running errands, I made sure to grab any needed ingredients so that I could make some of our favorite: Borsch and Pelmeni.

The majority of people that I talk to don’t really know what borsch is, or Ukrainian food in general. Perfectly normal for our geographical location. So I usually explain. “It’s a soup that has cabbage and beets in it, but also it’s somewhat tomato based.” I know, what? It’s just as hard to imagine as it is to explain, I’m sure.

I remember being confused about the food in Ukraine before I moved there. Everything that people described to me sounded very weird, yet they all seemed to say that they loved it. How could that be? Well, I have no answers. It’s just good, okay. We continue to eat it as often as possible and we are constantly looking for ways to improve/change up our methods.

Borsch can be a pretty time consuming depending on how you make it. There are without a doubt hundreds of recipes out there on how to prepare just this one soup. Everyone has their own preferences and techniques, and even I change it up almost every time that I make it. Yesterday was no exception. I knew that I was making pelmeni as well, which has meat in it, so I decided to omit the  meat in the soup and try something new. I ended up making a very quick and simple borsch that I adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen recipe. (I’m slightly obsessed with her blog!) If you’re curious how I made mine, keep reading!

I apologize, it was overcast and snowy all day so our lighting suffered, which isn’t helpful when I need quality iPhone photos. If you are needing more photos for clarification, check out the recipe that I linked above.

The main ingredients are pictured above. I set out a bunch of veggies we had that I thought I might use. I didn’t end up using all the potatoes. I had a can of sliced beets already, otherwise I would have bought fresh beets. I like the bags of them that they sell at Trader Joes, just fyi.

// What you need // 

8 cups of water
2 Tbsp of chicken base (Better Than Bouillon)
1 large potato
1/2 a head of cabbage
1 large beet or 2 small beets (I used the whole can of sliced beets)
approx 3/4 cup of grated carrots (2 regular sized carrots should do it)
1 bell pepper
1/2 onion
4oz can of tomato sauce
2 large bay leaves
a bunch of fresh dill
lemon juice or vinegar for some flavor
salt and pepper
sour cream (add in)

// Directions //

While the water and chicken base come to a low boil in a large pot, I cut up all the vegetables. Peel and cube the potato. Peel and grate the carrots and beets. (If you use canned beets, just slice them into strips.) Chop the 1/2 a onion and bell pepper to small pieces. Thinly slice the cabbage, the thinner, the better.

Once the base and water comes to a boil, add the potatoes and simmer. Add the cabbage and bay leaves to the pot after about 5 minutes. While the potatoes are simmering, fry your onion, carrots, and beets in a large pan with some olive oil. I fry them until they appear to be fairly well cooked. Then, add the can of tomato sauce and continue to let it all fry together for about 5 minutes.

By this point, the potatoes and cabbage should almost be done cooking. I like to check on them often so that I don’t over cook the potatoes to mush. Add the pan of fried veggies and tomato sauce to the pot. Stir it all together. Add chopped dill, salt, pepper, and a splash or two of vinegar/lemon juice to add flavor.

// Serving //

I highly recommend adding a spoonful of sour cream to your personal bowl of borsch. Also, borsch is better on day two and three, so go for those leftovers! You won’t regret it.

This went perfect with the pelmeni I made. I always use THIS recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen for the dough. Let me know if you try anything. Hope you enjoy!!


6 thoughts on “Recipes from Ukraine // Quick and Simple Borsch

  1. I’ve been wanting to make borsch for a long time! Thanks for this recipe, you make it look so easy! I love Better Than Bouillon too – I add it to the water when I’m cooking quinoa and it’s automatically that much more savory & delicious! Found you through The Life of Bon who shared your recipe & spoke so highly of it! Can’t wait to try it!


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