Borsch is a staple dish in Russian cuisine. Even though Borsch consist of very simple ingredients, it is very flavorful, and each household insist that only their Borsch is the most delicious.
An important ingredient that separates Borsch from other soups is beets. Beets give that signature deep, ruby red color to Borsch. Next important ingredient is stock. You can use store bought or make your own.
I personally prefer my Borsch to cook with beef stock that I make from short ribs, but sometimes I make it totally vegetarian.
Flavor-wise, I like sweet-savory notes in my soup and to achieve it I buy sweet beets that I bake in the oven before using it for the Borsch. Baking beets really enhance flavor!!!.
2 lbs short ribs
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 carrot, grated
3 medium beets, baked at 400F
1 celery stalk
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup tomato sauce ( I prefer Pomi brand)
3-4 potatoes cut in bite size
4-5 cups of shredded white cabbage
2 bay leaves
Juice from 1 lemon, or 2-3 tbsp if white vinegar
Salt, pepper to taste
1.Make stock first. Wash short ribs under cold water, put in the big soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Right before your stock will start to boil, you will see brown foam rising to the top. Skim it with spoon, otherwise you will not get a clean stock. Once it started to boil, partially cover with a lid, and let it simmer for 2-3 hours on low-medium heat until meat is falling from the bones.
2. While preparing stock, wash beets, dry them with paper towel, cover in foil and bake in the
oven at 400F about an hour. Check if it is done with a knife. Let it cool, and when beets are cool enough, grate it.
3. When you know that your stock is about to be ready, make a mirepoix. In olive oil sauté onions, carrots and celery until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent. Add chopped bell pepper, grated beets and sauté for additional 10 minutes. Next add tomato sauce, mix everything well, add lemon juice ( or vinegar) and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
4. While mirepoix is cooking, peel and chop potatoes. Shred cabbage.
5.Now you are ready to assemble your Borsch: take short ribs out of stock, remove bones and put meat back to the stock. Add potatoes and let it boil for 10 minutes. After that add cabbage, mirepoix, add bay leaf and let it simmer for additional 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to the taste.
Turn off heat, add fresh chopped dill and cover with the lid.
Borsch is ready, but the interesting thing that it will develop even more flavor over time, like the next day.
Enjoy it with sour cream and garlic.
Since you can enjoy Borsch for 2-3 days, I suggest don’t overcook vegetable because you will be heating it up every time before the meal and you don’t
want vegetables to become super soft.