The hallmark of Ukrainian cuisine is borscht, a hearty and super healthy comfort soup with a rich red color lent by beetroots.
There’s hardly anyone in Ukraine or beyond who has tasted this dish and didn’t like it. Its uniqueness is in the tanginess from the vinegar and the light earthy flavor from the beets complemented by a creaminess and sweetness.
It is impossible to offer a truly Ukrainian recipe of borscht because every homemaker boasts of their own.
Often the recipe is passed on in an old handwritten book from granny and taught to the next generation, each one adding something new, making the recipe even more special.
Below is the most classic borscht, which is easy to make. Feel free to experiment with veggies and meats as well as the amount of vinegar and sugar to make borscht your own.
- 8 red beets
- 4 large carrots
- 4 large potatoes
- 1 ½ (7 oz) cup shredded cabbage
- 2 onions
- 2 bunches fresh dill
- 2 bunches fresh parsley
- 3 bay leaves
- 1.5 (12 oz) cups water
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 (8 oz) cup tomato juice
- 8 oz canned beans
- 1 lb pork baby back ribs
- 1 (8oz) cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- black pepper
How to Make Borscht:
- Put the rinsed pork ribs into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then remove the foam and rinse the ribs again.
- Add more (cold) water, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil once again; keep it at light boil till the meat starts falling off the bone (approx. 1 hour).
- Peel all the veggies, grate the carrots and beetroots, shred the cabbage, chop the onions, and cube the potatoes.
- Keep them in cold water until you use them. Rinse and strain the canned beans.
- Sauté the chopped onions in sunflower oil until yellow, then add the tomato paste and grated carrots and continue for 5-6 minutes.
- Continue for another minute or two if the carrots have not softened.
- Once the pork ribs are ready, add the grated beetroots and cubed potatoes to the same pot.
- Bring the heat to medium and bring the water to a boil.
- Cook for another 10-12 minutes.
- Then, add the shredded cabbage, sautéed carrots, and onions to the pot.
- Cook until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork (approx. 7-10 minutes).
- Add the beans, black pepper, sugar, and vinegar. Cook for another 2-4 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and leave to stand covered with a lid for half an hour.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream, finely chopped parsley, and dill.