Recipe: Український Борщ (Ukrainian Borshch)

Borshch, April 2012

Let me preface this post by saying every Борщ (borshch) is different. Every Ukrainian has her own recipe/ratio of ingredients, and it rarely turns out the same twice. Some borshch has peppers. Some has a higher ratio of tomato to carrot/beet. Mine is rather carrot-y and lacks peppers.

Ukrainians keep asking me, “have you cooked borshch yet?” I’ve been meaning to, really, but just haven’t had all the ingredients on hand at the same time. I also haven’t been sure in what order to add ingredients. But after watching my host mom make green borshch (зелений борщ) from start to finish when I visited last week — see this post for details — I was assured of the steps and gained the confidence to try red borshch myself. (As far as I can tell, the main difference between red and green borshch is the latter’s lack of beets and slightly different ingredient set. Red borshch is what probably comes to mind when a non-Eastern European thinks of borshch.) Turns out, it’s really easy to make and of course delicious to eat.

April 2012 UPDATE: I made borshch again with a friend almost exactly one year after making it for the first time. It turned out really well, and I’ve updated the ingredient proportions below.

Український Борщ [Ukrainian Borshch], Tammela’s Version

Ingredients:

  • Meat of choice (I used two chicken drumsticks), or beans, or no protein at all
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 small-medium potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & grated
  • 1 large or 2 small-medium beets, peeled & grated
  • 1-2 small-medium tomatoes, grated/chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste (depending on how tomatoey you want your borshch to be)
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • optional: a bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Oil (Ukrainians use sunflower oil, but canola/vegetable oil would work fine)
  • for serving: dollop of sour cream; hunk of brown bread; peeled raw garlic clove(s)

Procedure:

  • Bring water with meat to a boil, and simmer until it’s mostly cooked (cooking time will depend on the kind of meat you use; chicken cooks fast). Partway through, add the sliced onion to the water.
  • When meat is mostly cooked, add diced potatoes and keep simmering until potatoes are cooked, 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of the cubes).
  • Meanwhile, grate your carrot, beet, and tomato and saute for a few minutes in a pan with some oil.
  • Add sauteed veggies to the pot and throw in the cabbage, too.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, add the dill and/or green onions, and let simmer for as long as you’d like. Serve with a dollop of sour cream (сметана), a hunk of brown bread (чорний хліб), and (if you’re really brave) a clove or two of peeled raw garlic.

Смачного!

If you have a borshch recipe or something similar, I’d love to hear your variations — just leave them in the comments section.

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13 thoughts on “Recipe: Український Борщ (Ukrainian Borshch)

  1. I had borshch for lunch the other day and thought of you. Ill try your recipe and tell you what i think. : )

  2. My mother’s borshch has no potatoes. For meat, she always used to simmer kolbasa in the soup and added sauteed onions (sauteed to the point of being caramelized) at the end. The simmered kolbasa would take on a very sweet, beet taste. Otherwise, the recipe is very similar.

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