Borscht good enough to make old Russians cry.

Borscht

 

Whenever we go to a potluck this borscht is my go-to recipe.  It seems like most people have never had a three-day soup from scratch.  Those who have had three-day soups have not had one since their grandmother died in the old country. 

We went to a Russian potluck with about 5 gallons of this soup.  Three older men took stations around the pot and allowed others to take a small portion as long as they knew to be properly appreciative.  They had tears in their eyes as they explained to people that they had not had soup like this since their grandmother died.    They told people that they would never taste such a borscht again.   Mike and I were standing on the other side of the kitchen with our jaws dropped.  When I went to claim my empty soup pot, I was silently mugged.  It was an emotional moment for all of us, but nobody could figure out a way to arrange words that would be up to the task, so we nodded and just walked away.

I wish I had thought to give them the recipe.  I do not understand why they do not make it for themselves.  Yes, it is a three day soup but including prep it is maybe an hour or two worth of work altogether.  The rest of the time it just bubbles along or cools in the refrigerator and makes the house smell great

 

Four notes: 

 

     Borscht makes a very good vegetarian soup, just not this recipe.  Most of the timing is to squeeze the most out of the meat. A veggie version will probably only takes a day and can be served cold.

     I know that some of you have glanced at it and are planning to half or quarter the recipe.  There is an old story that somebody asked the Chief of the Russian Tea Room how to make borsch for their family.  He answered with “Take 20 pounds of bones…” the family people interrupted him and said, “No, just for four people!” The chef thought for a moment and then said, “You cannot make borscht for four people!”  At least once, go for the full deal.  It is not much difference in time and you can freeze this for the next snow day.

     This is not palace food, but peasant.  You can tune it to your family by playing with the amount of the meat, bones, tomato and tomato paste and acid (vinegar v. lemon).  I generally add more beets at the last second and because my father-in-law health requirements I remove all tomato.

     I am working on a clearer recipe format.  I’m trying to get something that flows from grocery store through prep, cooking and serving.  I want something that a person can just glace upon and know where is where and what is what.  Please give me feedback!  It is a lot of work to do and I would be just as happy not to take the time.


 

 

Borscht

 

3 lbs.………. beef: shin, chuck, short rib w/ bone

3 to 6…….. beef soup marrow bones

9 cups…… water

2 TBS…….. salt or less

12+…………. medium beets

 

4………………. medium potatoes

1……………….. small carrot

1……………….. white cabbage

1……………….. ripe tomato

2 TBS ……. wine vinegar

6 TBS…….. tomato paste

1……………….. bay leaf

1/3 cup….. fresh parsley

2 TBS…….. Lemon Juice

…………………. Salt & black pepper to taste

 

…………………. Sour cream

…………………. Sliced Dill Pickle

…………………. Fresh Dill herb

 

Day 1:

Prep:

1.      Gather: Chief knife, crock pot, the meats, bones & salt

2.     Cut meat small enough so it fits loosely in soup pot

3.     In the pot:  

     Meat

     Bones

     Salt

Cook:

1.      Add the bones and meat and some water to a large crock or soup pot

2.     Add 1 TBS of salt

3.     Do a low simmer for approximately 24 hours.

4.     Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight

 

 

Day 2:

Prep:

1.      Gather: Soup, huge soup pot(s), beets, potatoes, tomato, wine vinegar and tomato paste.

2.     Discard the fat and the bones

3.     Pull meat pieces apart to manageable sizes

4.     Put cold soup in a soup pot because it will not fit in a crock-pot very soon

5.     Into the pot:

     beets :………………………. peel 8, cube 4 and slice 4

     potatoes:………………….. cube 4

     ripe tomato:……………… chop one

     wine vinegar:……………. 2 TBS

     tomato paste:…………… 6 TBS

 

cook:

1.      Add the prepped beets to the meat soup pot

2.     Add the remaining ingredients from the middle column (potatoes, carrot, cabbage, tomato, wine vinegar, tomato paste, and sugar)

3.     Add enough water to submerge everything

4.     Slowly simmer (four bubble) the soup for at least 2 hours (6+ hours would be better).

5.     Remove from heat and add the bay leaf

6.     Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight

 

 

Day 3:

Prep:

1.      Gather: Chief knife, soup pot, soup, beets parsley & lemon juice

2.     Into the pot:

     Beets:……………………….. grate 4

     Parsley:…………………….. chop 1.3 cup

     lemon juice:……………… 2 TBS

cook

1.      Skim off the fat and reheat.

2.     Add reserved beets, fresh parsley and lemon juice

3.     Simmer until warm and new beets are soft (~15 minutes)

4.     Adjust salt as needed

 

serve:

1.      Gather: Soup, hearty soup bowls, sour cream, fresh dill and dill pickles

2.     Into each soup bowl:

     Meat:……………………….. a good amount of soup solids, especially meat

     Liquid:……………………… fill the rest of the bowl about 80%

     Sour Cream:……………… a dollop of sour cream,

     Dill:………………………….. ~tsp of fresh dill to taste

     Garnish:……………………. with a dill pickle or more to taste

 

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Borscht good enough to make old Russians cry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s