I seem to be placing recipes in a way that highlights each part of my complex identity. First, there was my Canadian split pea soup with bacon that symbolizes my Canadian identity. Then, I shared the recipe for the Peruvian fish soup that represents the Spanish-speaking part of my identity. Now the time has come for me to offer you a recipe of the most traditional and time-honored Ukrainian dish: the borscht. (Why I seem to be stuck on soups for the moment is a mystery.)
If you only tried borscht in restaurants, then you never tasted real Ukrainian borscht. Every Ukrainian has their own recipe of borscht which can’t be mass produced while preserving the quality. This is why I’m now offering you my own recipe of borscht. Enjoy!
You will need:
a piece of meat on a bone (either pork or beef). I have also made borscht using chicken in the past, and it was a great success. Feel free to skip the meat for a vegetarian version of the borscht.
dry white beans (1 cup). This is often skipped too but I find it makes borscht much heartier.
1 medium sized onion.
1 bay leaf.
2 medium sized carrots
1 large or 2 small beets
1 small can of tomato paste
2 large potatoes
1/3 of a head of cabbage
1/8 of a bunch of parsley or cilantro
sour-cream to serve
1. Wash the meat and place it in a large cooking pan. Pork is normally used for borscht by real Ukrainians but I don’t like pork. For me, it’s a good, beautiful piece of beef. Fill the pan with water and add the onion and the bay leaf. Feel free to add some peppercrons too.
|We only just started cooking and
it already looks beautiful. The
visual component is crucial in Ukrainian
cuisine. Food is supposed to look festive and fun.
|The choice is yours whether to use more beets and less carrots,
vice versa or an equal amount of both
|It’s up to you how much cabbage to use based on
how much you like cabbage. Some people who are really
not into cabbage have been known to skip it altogether
8. Add the tomato sauce to the cooking pan with the stock and the potatoes. Then, add shredded cabbage to the pan as well.
9. When the cabbage is almost ready, add fresh parsley or cilantro. Keep tasting the cabbage to determine whether it’s ready because it takes different kinds of cabbage a very different amount of time to cook. The cabbage should be “al dente”, so to speak. Make sure it is not mushy. As soon as the cabbage reaches the desired degree of softness, take it off the fire and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.
|This is how the borscht looks when it’s almost ready|
|Borscht is served with sour cream.
I don’t drink vodka, but it makes the picture
look more authentic