Borsch is a thick vegetable soup originally from Ukraine, with beet as the main ingredient, wholesome, flavorful, healthy and perfect for the cold season!
Borsch is one of the most popular classic dishes of Slavic cuisine. It is a thick vegetable soup, with red beet as the main ingredient, wholesome, flavorful, healthy and perfect for the cold season as it warms you up and comforts you when it’s rainy and windy outside. Borsch is symbolic for post-USSR countries, especially Russia and Ukraine. Immigrants make it out of nostalgia, while Slavic people don’t see the reason not to make it.
Borsch originates from Ukraine but it became popular in Russia, having acquired new flavors and ways to cook it. Only Russian dumplings could compete with it in being the most important national dish. It’s loved not only in Russia and Ukraine, but also in Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Moldova. Each family has its own recipe of borsch. If you ask 1000 Ukrainian housewives about how to cook Ukrainian borsch, you will get 1000 different versions of it. And all will be good. Some add mushrooms, some beans, others smoked ham or fish. Borsch can be made with meat broth, may be vegetarian, may be with tomatoes or tomato paste, sweet pepper, celery, and can even be eaten cold. Traditionally, it is eaten for lunch as any other soup. I think Soviet cantines contributed to this a lot, as lunch consisted from first course – soup, second course – usually meat with a side dish, most commonly potatoes (except Thursday – it was a fish day) and the third course – compote. This system is still commonly used. You can ask someone: “What would you like for the first (course)?” They would know you mean soup and not salad. There is an uncountable number of the varieties of borsch but I will share a classic Russian/Ukrainian borsch recipe today. To make borsch you first of all need inspiration, beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onion, garlic and broth (not necessarily in this order).
Yesterday’s borsch tastes the best, so it makes sense to make a big pot. It’s a great make ahead meal which only requires 30 minutes to make! It requires beef broth but you can also use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of it. If you are going for the beef broth, here is a recipe for you from Olga’s Flavor Factory. A small tip: try adding cloves to your broth. It will make the taste more interesting and intense.
I hope you enjoy this fall/winter soup and I’m sure you will make it again and again!