Ukrainian Borscht

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1-1/2 - 2 pounds of beef with bone 
1/2 cup dry beans
1 medium beet root 
1/2 medium cabbage
5 medium potatoes
3 medium carrots
2 medium onions
2 medium parsley roots
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 table spoons tomato paste
2 green peppers
5-6 black peppercorns
1 medium garlic 
1/4 lb salted salo (pig fat)

Directions - How to cook Ukrainian borscht
You will need a 5-6 liter cooking pot. You have to invite all your relatives and friends to try Ukrainian borscht which you cooked yourself. Besides that next day Ukrainian borscht is considered the tastiest one. O.K., let's start. You can follow the borscht recipe exactly or experiment on your own.

Soak dry beans for 2-3 hours.

Cut the meat on pieces (they have to stick out your soup bowl while you eat borscht), place them in a pot filled with the cold water. Bring to a boil, skim off any fat on the surface. In 30 minutes add soaked beans, cover and cook for about 1 hour.

While meat is cooking, chop the beet as thin as you can, put it in a frying pan, add sunflower or vegetable oil, and fry untill soft (don't make it too soft!). You can add 1 tea spoon of vinegar to save beet color.

Chop cabbage (try to make the slices thinner!), peel and chop potatoes. Leave them along for now.  Chop 3 carrots, 2 onions, 2 parsley roots, fry them until the onion is going golden.

Now the fun part of borscht recipe. Let's put all together to make a master piece. Wait, wait! One step at a time. When the meat is ready, add some salt, 2-3 bay leaves, peppercorns, potatoes.

In 5-10 minutes add fried carrots, onions, parsley roots, and beets. Add chopped cabbage. Slow cook about 10 minutes.

Add 2-3 table spoons of tomato paste, wait until it boils. Add a little bit sugar if it is too sour for you. Turn off the stove. No, borscht is not ready yet.

Cut salted salo into the tiny cubes. (Don't worry! You will never see salo in your borscht if you do it proper.) Chop 0.5 head of garlic and the dill. Grind them together in a deep bowl with a wooden spoon. Throw it in cooked borscht. Wait for 10-15 minutes more even if you can't because of all those smells. Enjoy!

How to serve Ukrainian borscht.
To serve Ukrainian borscht proper is another story. I guess we need at least a few notes here to make our borscht recipe finished. You can add some additional flavor to compliment borscht. Here are some traditional variants.

According to Ukrainian cooking traditions we often use sour cream for different dishes. Add a table spoon of sour cream in your soup bowl, sprinkle with a little bit of chopped parsley and dill.

Put a broken pod of red pepper in a bowl for a few seconds. Be careful. It is pretty spicy!

If you are expecting some dear or important guests, you can amaze them with pampushkas. Pampushkas are the small buns spread with a pinch of pepper, 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons of sunflower (or vegetable) oil, and a few drops of water


Extra Information About Borscht:
Ukrainian borscht recipe...Apparently it is practically impossible to describe! There is no single "correct way" of cooking borscht. Each hostess has her own idea about ingredients and the way borscht has to be cooked. As a result we have as many versions of Ukrainian borscht recipes as many hostesses exist in Ukraine.

What is Ukrainian borscht? On the one hand, borscht is a Ukrainian national soup, but on the other hand it is not a soup at all. There are zillions kinds of soup, but BORSCHT is the only one. What is that special about Ukrainian borscht?

Borscht is not just a regular meal. It is one of the Ukraine's national symbols. It took its name from the word "br'sch" which means beet in old Slavic language. Since the time immemorial there is nothing better than to eat a big bowl of hot borsch when you come from the cold winter street. It will warm up your soul and body, bring much more optimism to your life.

Each region in Ukraine has its own borscht recipe. All the recipes have different names to distinguish them from each other. But there is one thing which they have in common. The real borscht is a home made meal. You can try borscht at some restaurants, but even the best of them can offer you no more than quite decent borscht. It will never have that special home taste and spirit which made Ukraine famous for its borscht.

Ukrainian borscht can be cooked in a number of ways. Every hostess can change not only borscht ingredients from time to time, but also the way of cooking every time she cooks borscht. Everything depends on her today mood. This is just one borscht recipe. It can be a starting point for you if you decided to try to cook your own variant of Ukrainian borscht.


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