Author: Jinny Sauer Bastianelli
The one-year anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine was just a few days ago, and so the embattled country was on my mind when I came across an article in the Star. It was about a chef who is using the traditional beet soup, “borsch”, to promote Ukrainian unity and patriotism. That sent me searching for a recipe. The ingredient list in this one is just made for the Market – with root vegetables being plentiful this time of year. It is healthy and nutritious and endlessly versatile. You can make it vegetarian style or not, and even substitute vegetable broth and olive oil to make it vegan if you wish.
Traditional Ukrainian Borscht Recipe
- 1 cup of diced celery
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1 cup of chopped cabbage
- 2 cloves of garlic grated or pressed
- 1 tablespoon of butter for sautéing onions and celery
- 8 cups water, vegetable broth, beef broth, or chicken broth
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 or 3 medium-to-large sized peeled beets half grated and half diced
- 1 or 2 medium carrots grated
- 1 medium potato diced
- 1/2 cup of fresh dill (or 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. dried dill)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Optional ingredients: Bay leaf green beans, peas, beet greens and shredded pork or pork sausage
- Sauté the onions, celery and cabbage with the butter until soft and translucent.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes and the garlic, as well as all of the water or broth.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to medium heat and let simmer.
- Peel the beets, carrots and potato. Dice half the beets and grate the other half. Grate all the carrots. Dice the potato.
- Add the beets, carrots and potato to the broth. If you would like to add any other optional vegetables (ie. beans, peas, beet greens, etc.) do so now.
- Allow soup to simmer on medium until diced beets and potatoes are soft (test them with a fork or by biting into them!), about 15 minutes. Remove soup from heat.
- Stir in chopped fresh dill weed and salt and black pepper.
- Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of bread with butter. Makes 6 servings.
What a perfect hot, healthy dish to serve on a chilly evening!