Ukrainian Borscht Soup Recipe, Whats Cooking America (2024)

Several years ago my daughter Brenda’s dear friend Lena Hennegan, from Russia, hosted a dinner party and served everyone borscht soup as one of the courses. She enjoyed the flavors of the soup so much that she had to ask for Lena’s recipe. Brenda just recently uncovered the recipe tucked inside one of her cookbooks. The recipe was labeled Ukrainian Borsht Soup Recipe.

With this cold weather, this hearty Ukrainian Borscht Soup is delightful. Looking at the ingredients it reminded my daughter of a variation of vegetable beef soup that also added cabbage and beets for that beautiful deep ruby color. Brenda says, “Not only did this soup fill my family up, but it was also very healthy and the taste improved the next day. I was surprised to see my young boys enjoying the soup. My 5-year old liked the fact that he could not tell what kind of vegetables were in the soup, and he declared it tasty!”

Beet Greens – How To Cook Fresh Beet Greens – Please do not throw away those fresh beet greens when cooking fresh beets. Cook the beet greens and enjoy a delicious and nutritious dish just like your grandparents grew up with. This is a very simple and definitely delicious way to cook fresh beet greens.

History of Borscht Soup:

Borscht soup also spelled, borsch, borshch, barzcz, or borchch is a characteristically red colored clear soup, which comes from the beetroot and can be served hot or cold. Borscht is a specialty of the Eastern European (Slavic) countries (including Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine) that dates all the way back to Medieval times. It is also believed that borscht used to be the national food in Ancient Rome, where cabbages and beets were specifically cultivated for the purpose.

In the Slavic countries, the origins of borscht actually used cow parsnip, which was eventually replaced by the beetroot. Since beets were in large abundance and inexpensive, it was frequently used by the poorer classes. During the Middle Ages, Borscht never appeared on the royal table during the reign of the Jagiellonian kings, or was it consumed by the royal servants.

Ukrainians strongly believe that Borscht soup originated in their country and declare it as their national soup. Ukrainians love borsht so much so that they will eat borscht with pork for breakfast as a morning pick me up and then again three times throughout the day! You can find many different variations of Borscht soup in the Ukraine using a wide range of vegetables including the staples of cabbage, potatoes, and meats such as pork, beef, or ham. The most essential ingredient for the soup is the beetroot which gives the soup it’s red color. The sweetness from the beets is typically counterbalanced with a kvass (sour, slightly alcoholic beer made from bread or a concoction of fermented beets) vinegar, lemon juice or a citric acid. Borscht is often eaten with a garnish of sour cream and fresh greens such as dill weed or parsley. Borscht is commonly prepared in a large pot to feed a family for several days and the taste will continue to get better after the first day. There as so many recipe variations for borscht soup that each family passes down through the generations.

15th Century
– One of the popular but unproved legends says the first-ever borshch was cooked by the Cossacks in 1637 during a two-month siege of the Azov fortress in Southern Russia, which was occupied by the Turkish army. Feeding four thousand Cossacks in a camp was problematic so they collected anything edible they could find and threw it all together. Everyone liked this thick and nourishing mix of vegetables and meat, and came up with the name borschch.

16th Century
– Famous Polish poet and prose writer, Mikolaj Rej mentioned a “broth from pickles beets”, but is was not known in all parts of Poland.

19th Century
– Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets’ A Gift to Young Housewives(originally published in 1861) translated and introduced by Joyce Toomre [Indiana University Press:Bloomington] 1992 (p. 131)

31. Ukranian borshch (Borshch malorossijskij): Prepare bouillon #1 from 3 lbs of fatty beef or fresh pork, or from beef with smoked ham. Omit the root vegetables, but add a bay leaf and allspice. Strain the bouillon. An hour before serving add a little fresh cabbage, cut into pieces. Cook, stirring in beet brine or grain kvass to taste about 2 spoons of vinegar. Meanwhile thoroughly wash and boil 5 red beets, but do not peel or cut them; this is, boil them separately in water without scraping. Remove them when tender, peel, and grate. Stir 1 spoon of flour into the beets, add them to the bouillon with some salt, and bring to a boil twice. Put parsley in a soup tureen and pour in the hot borshch. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle with black pepper, if desired, and serve with the sliced beef, pork , or ham; or with fried sausages, meatballs or mushroom buns. “ — Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets’ A Gift to Young Housewives (originally published in 1861) translated and introduced by Joyce Toomre [Indiana University Press: Bloomington] 1992 (p.131)

The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 1999 (p.89)

Food and Drink in Medieval Poland: Rediscovering a Cuisine of the Past, Maria Dembinska, revised and adapted by William Woys Weaver, translated by Magdalena Thomas [University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia] 1999 (p.127-128)

Food Timeline: Soups & Stews – borscht

Enclyopedia Britannica: Borsch

Wikibooks– Cookbook: Ukrainian Borscht

Ukrainian Borscht Soup Recipe, Whats Cooking America (2024)


What is the difference between Russian borscht and Ukrainian borscht? ›

It's standard for Ukrainian cooks to use pork in their Borscht and top it off with sour cream, whereas Russian cooks are more likely to use beef. Furthermore, Ukrainians will offer buns with their bortsch, and Russians will offer a native bread known as “black bread.”

What's the difference between beet soup and borscht? ›

The Polish word barszcz means borscht, but this soup is slightly different. Whereas traditional borscht is an opaque purple and commonly includes meat, tomatoes, and cabbage, barszcz is more of a basic beet broth that is somewhat translucent, whether red or white in color.

What country did borscht originate from? ›

Although borscht is important in Russian and Polish cuisines, Ukraine is frequently cited as its place of origin. Its name is thought to be derived from the Slavic word for the cow parsnip, or common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), or from a fermented beverage derived from that plant.

What is the difference between red and green borscht? ›

Red borscht is the most popular borscht in Ukraine, it is prepared from cabbage, potatoes (from the second half of the 19th century), carrots, onions, parsley, dill, and beets. Green borscht is a sorrel or spring borscht. It is cooked in the spring, with young greens.

Why do Americans say borscht? ›

The English spelling borscht comes from Yiddish באָרשט (borsht), as the dish was first popularized in North America by Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe.

Is borscht soup healthy? ›

This soup from Eastern Europe is rich in essential nutrients that provide numerous benefits. Additionally, it's a low-calorie option that can be easily adapted to fit various dietary needs, including vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Is borscht healthy for you? Rest assured, it certainly is.

What is a good side dish for borscht? ›

You can serve borscht with sides like Pumpernickel or rye bread, garlic toast, meat, salads, dairy, pickled foods, pierogi, grains, potato pancakes, mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs seasoned with paprika or dill, gluten-free options, and accompany it with fermented Slavic beverages and Santa Carolina ...

Does borscht contain tomatoes? ›

Borscht Ingredients

Vegetables: You'll need beets, carrots, baking potatoes, cabbage, and an onion. Canned tomatoes: Use drained diced tomatoes and canned tomato paste. Vegetable oil: Cook the onion in oil. Water: You'll need almost nine cups of water for this big-batch soup.

Why is borscht healthy? ›

Borscht contains three good sources of vitamin C: beets, cabbage and potatoes. Eating foods high in vitamin C along with nitrate-rich foods increases the production of nitric oxide. Borscht also contains garlic. Interestingly, garlic increases the amount of nitric oxide absorbed by the body.

Do Russians put sour cream in borscht? ›

Borsch is a traditional Russian soup that can be eaten with or without sour cream. In fact, the way in which people eat borsch varies greatly across different regions of Russia. Some will add sour cream to their borsch for added flavor and texture, while others might omit it altogether.

Do you eat borscht hot or cold? ›

Borscht can be hot or cold, meaty or light, dairy-laden or broth-based, depending on your mood. According to Bonnie Frumkin Morales, chef and owner of Kachka in Portland, Oregon, the biggest benefit of making borscht at home is that “it's very malleable and riffable.

Why does my borscht taste sweet? ›

Its sweetness comes from the beets, onions, and cabbage, and its tartness from tomatoes and vinegar. Some meat can be added for richness. For a better borscht experience, many people enjoy adding sour cream, yogurt, or fresh herbs. It's warm, sweet, full of umami, and sour all in one bowl.

Does borscht taste better the next day? ›

Serve the borscht with plenty of chopped dill, some sour cream on the side, and some good-quality bread for dipping. The soup will taste even better the next day.

Why is my borscht not purple? ›

Cooking Time and Temperature: Beets can lose their vibrant red color if they are overcooked or cooked at high temperatures for too long. If you cooked the beets for an extended period or at a high temperature, it could cause them to lose some of their color intensity, resulting in a more orange appearance.

What is Russian borscht made of? ›

Borscht soup is a traditional Ukrainian soup made with beef, cabbage, beets, and other vegetables. It's known for the beautiful ruby-red color that comes from adding beets. The main ingredients that always go into borscht soup are cabbage, beets, and beef. You can change up some other veggies that you put into it.

What does Ukrainian borscht taste like? ›

Borscht is a beet soup that's warm, sweet, and sour all in one bowl. It has the umami and complexity of a well-developed chicken soup but the beets add a whole different flavor profile. Its sweetness comes from the beets, onions, and cabbage, and its tartness from tomatoes and vinegar.

Which soup is considered the most traditional in Ukraine? ›

Borshch (sometimes written as borsch, borsht, bortsch, or borshch) is a sour soup with distinctive red colour. Usually, the ingredients are meat, beetroots, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. It can be served either hot or cold, and it can also be white or green, depending on the ingredients.

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