Sunday, April 21, 2013

Grandma Anja's Borsch

My wonderful Grandmother Anja is from a small town in Belarus.  Her version of Borsch is very different from the classical Russian or Ukranian Borsch.  It is vegetarian and could easily be vegan if you skip the sour cream at the end.  This soup is super-easy to make and turns out delicious.  

Here is what you’ll need:  

2 ¾ quarts of water

One medium-size onion
¼ of sweet pepper (I prefer red, orange or yellow)
Bay leaves (2-3)
2-3 medium carrots
1 LARGE Beet (or two medium ones)
2 medium potatoes
Salt/pepper to taste
2/3 small Cabbage
¼ cup tomato sauce
            * instead of tomato sauce, you can add lemon juice – after you turn off the soup.

  1. Add whole onion, pepper and bay leaf to the boiling water, followed by the diced carrots. 
  2. After the water starts boiling again, add the shredded beets.
  3. Add salt and pepper.  Allow to cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add thinly sliced potatoes and parsley (fresh is best but dry is ok, too).  Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes.
  5. Add the thinly cut cabbage and tomato sauce. 
  6. Cook for another 7-10 minutes.  Taste and add more salt, if needed.


Serve it with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of hearty bread.  

Now, a few things to keep in mind:  the soup tastes better if you let it sit for a day.  Don’t boil the beets too long – they will turn brown (this will not affect the flavor, but the beautiful red will be lost forever).  The order of how the vegetables are added is important (my mom just throws everything in at the same time and her Borsch tastes very different).

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