A few months ago, I posted our family recipe for the vegetarian borscht. We’ve been making the vegetarian version of this beet soup for years now. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time we cooked borscht with meat.
Traditionally, Russian borscht is prepared with beef. Since I’ve been getting many requests to share the original (meaty) recipe for borscht, I decided it deserves a separate post.
Borscht is popular in many Eastern European countries, and each country has its own twist on the recipe. Beets, potatoes and cabbage are the standard borscht ingredients, but don’t be surprised if you find borscht recipes that use spinach, bacon, mushrooms, beans, sausages and even eggs.
The recipe for borscht is usually passed on from generation to generation. This is exactly how my grandmas and my great-grandmas used to cook borscht in my family, but it doesn’t mean that everyone in Russia makes borscht the same way. I know some of my friends add red bell pepper to the recipe; others add tomato paste; some boil the beets instead of sautéing them.
The truth is there are thousands of borscht variations. You just have to try making a few and see which one works best for you.
I personally prefer the vegetarian version not only because I don’t eat meat, but also because it saves you about 1.5 hours and you have 1 less pot to wash after. That’s a pretty sweet deal to me!
Want to serve both vegetarian and meat borscht?
I am the only vegetarian in my family. So sometimes I prepare the vegetarian borscht just like I showed you in my video, while my mom cooks the beef as described below. My family would then add the beef pieces to their individual bowls at the same time as adding the sour cream.
- 1 slice bone-in beef shank (1kg/2.2 pounds)
- 3L water
- 2 medium-size beets, peeled and grated
- 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 tbsp of water
- juice of ½ lemon
- 5 medium-size potatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ medium cabbage
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 5-7 whole black peppers
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2-3 garlic cloves, halved
- sour cream/mayo/Greek yogurt
- fresh herbs
- freshly ground pepper
- Place beef in a large pot and add water.
- Bring to a boil and add 1 tbsp of salt.
- Cook beef for 1.5 hours over medium heat.
- Remove the beef from the pot and slice into bite size pieces.
- Return the beef pieces to the pot and continue cooking over medium/high heat.
- Meanwhile, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a a separate pot or a deep skillet over medium/high heat.
- Add grated beets, carrots, diced tomatoes and stir.
- Add 2 tbsp of water and lemon juice to the vegetables and give it a good stir.
- Change the heat to low. Cover the pot/skillet with vegetables and simmer for 20 min.
- After 20 minutes, bring the beef broth to a boil and add the beets.
- Add diced potatoes to the soup and cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the cabbage and add it to the pot. At this point, you may need to add some boiled water to the pot depending on how thick you want the soup to be.
- Heat up 1 tsp of olive oil in a small skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat until it becomes golden.
- Add the onions to the pot.
- Finally, add black pepper, bay leaves, garlic and dried parsley to the soup and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove borscht from the heat. It is now ready to be served.
- When serving borscht, add sour cream and fresh herbs to individual bowls.
Unlike vegetarian borscht that will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about a week, the beef borscht can be stored for 3-4 days.
Have a Fabulous Lunch!