First thing first: my apologies for not being active on my blog – lots of things happening right now. One thing I would like to say: my mom is here! By here, I mean – she finally moved to the US. Woot-woot! Huge accomplishment. And you probably know that if mom is in the house, that means – she is cooking 🙂 This post will be on one of our latest creations with a funny story behind it. I call it a creation because I knew how to make borscht and I made it … maybe 2 times in my life. So, it cannot be compared to my mom’s experience cooking it her whole life. The funny part of us making it: we were making it for my husband’s fire station (it is a long story why)- 12 guys – big pot. Needless to say, it took us about 5 hours. Likely, we had a great success with transporting it – thankfully his fire station is 2 minutes away from the house. To do not clutter this post, let me get to the recipe – enjoy 🙂
I will start from the comment that I do not actually have a pretty picture of it in a nice bowl with some sour cream or mayo (that’s how Russians eat it), cause we actually didn’t have a chance to eat it – it was for the guys. So, here is a not so pretty picture of a final product in a huge steaming pot – yum!
Alright, let’s get to the details (be ready for lots of pictures ;))
First thing first: cut your meets (we used stew meats) into small pieces. Select meats that have bones in it: mom said, bones have the most flavor. Let it boil and cook for 3-4 hours. When it is steaming, add salt to it (to your taste).
When it will be steaming, tons of scraps from the meat will start floating on the surface: remove it with a spoon – it will make your broth clear.
Prepare your veggies: potatoes, cabbage, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beets, carrots and greens. Borscht is pretty much a “mix of everything”. Some people also like to add beans, but in our family we never do. You can also make it deep purple color by adding more beets ( I personally like it that way). It is totally up to you.
Start chopping and grating your veggies.
Everything goes into separate frying pans: I know… If to make it right (the old school way), it will take some time and a lots of dirty dishes. Just make it a fun full day event 😉
Chop potatoes and put it all into the steaming beef broth. Mom’s trick to a thicker bullion: stick one whole potato into the broth to cook. Leave it there until its ready, pull it out and mash it. Add this mashed potato back to the soup closer to the end of the cooking time. It will make your soup creamier. Cooking tricks of a long-time expert 🙂
If you are making the soup the old Russian way, all the spices you will need are: salt, pepper, sugar, bay leave and a little bit of red pepper (really it is all up to you).
Forgive me for not giving you measurements: I simply do not have them ( I am sure Google can help you with that). All what my mom was saying is: add a pinch of this, about a teaspoon of that, maybe another pinch of that and taste, taste, taste. So that’s how we measure things. When serving, add sour cream or mayo. Rye bread goes with it fabulously!
PS while writing this post, I found a picture that I took when I made borscht for the first time to my then future husband – he loved it. It was his first introduction to the Russian foods. Not all of the Russian dishes are his favorite, some of them he clearly makes fun of. Haha. Oh well, I have to admit – some of the dishes are really funky but we, Russians, still love them. So, it is ok not to like them, but it is always fun to explore, right? 🙂 Enjoy! And here is that pretty picture 🙂