Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Borsch is a soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. It can be served hot or cold and there are many versions of this soup. My version is a fusion of Ukrainian and Russian Borsch (or Borscht).
• 1 beef shank (or oxtail)
• ¾ cabbage
• Carrots (1 large or a few small carrots)
• Celery (1 stick)
• Tomatoes (1-2 medium size)
• Beets (with no green tops)
• Potatoes (2-3 small)
• Bay leaf
• Tomato paste (1 small can)
• Sunflower oil
• Baby dill
• Sour cream
BORSCH "DONT'S" (Adapted from HubPages)
Before I even start with cooking details, I would love to highlight some "don'ts" that may ruin all your efforts with cooking borsch. I know that "7 minute meals" are very popular these days, but this is obviously not the case and these simple notes will help you cook a really good and tasty borsch:
• If there is no time to make stock then trust me, using bouillon cubes is not a way for cooking the borsch. Simply wait until you have time to shop for the necessary ingredients and to cook the actual borsch.
• Buy the freshest meat for borsch, the beef broth is the most important part of this.
• Canned beets can't replace free beets. Period.
• Yes, there is a difference between green or red cabbage. I use green cabbage for cooking borsch.
• Fresh baby dill and garlic are also "must-haves"
• Don't eat your borsch right after you finish cooking it. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
First step is making the broth. Place your meat in a large pot and bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the meat is tender (app 2 – 3 hours). This can be done day or two ahead.
A very important thing to do while cooking borsch is to make a "zazharka" (fry up). While the borsch is heating up (if done from scratch) you need to sauté finely chopped carrots, onion and celery in oil.
Take the meat out, discard the bone and put the meat back in the pot along with sautéd carrots, onions and celery.
Slice the beets (into strips), add some broth to the pan and place the beets into the pan. Add tomato paste. Cover and let it cook for 5-7 minutes (medium heat).
While the beets are sautéing, cut the cabbage and potatoes and put them in the pot. Bring to the boil.
Sprinkle the beets with vinegar (1 tablespoon) and sugar (1.5 tablespoons)
Add beets to the borsch.
Add salt to the borsch
Remove the meat, chop in small pieces and keep warm. At this time I use immersion blender to chop up some but not all vegetables. Add one bay leaf, cover and leave for at least 15 minutes.
Slice the beets (into strips), add some broth to the pan and place the beets into the pan.
Add beets to the borsch. Sauté finely chopped carrots, onion and celery in oil and transfer to Borsch. Cook for about 30 - 45 minutes. When all the vegetables are soft I use immersion blender to chop up some but not all vegetables. The Borsch should have some bite.
Place chopped beef into preheated bowls and pour Borsch on top. Garnish with sour cream and sprigs of dill and it is ready for the table.