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What do Russian eat? Borsch.

12 Jan

Not many people know a lot about Russia. For example, some people think that Russians drink a lot of vodka, that they have bears as pets, or that Russia is a very cold country. Russian food is a mystery as nobody knows what Russian food looks like. For this reason, I would like to share with you today a  Russian recipe and some interesting facts about a Russian soup called Borsch, or sometimes referred to in Europe as Red Soup, making a reference both to the red of the former communist regime of the Soviet Union but mostly because the soup is actually red given one of its ingredients.


History:

There is still a dispute about where does Borsch come from, as it is considered to be a national dish by the Polish, Russians, Lithuanians, Romanians, and Ukrainians. Every nation has its own quirks and peculiarities for cooking this dish.  It is known that in Ukraine and Russia, red soup has been eaten since the 14th and the 15th centuries. Some famous Russians who loved Borsch are Gogol (classical write), Catherine the Great (Queen), Alexander II (Tsar) and Anna Pavlova (ballet dancer). Borsch has been associated with many legends. For example, it was told that  the soul of the dead person flies away with the steam of borsch, and thus, it is a traditional dish at funerals in Ukraine. On the other hand, Borsch is also a popular dish at weddings and festive celebrations.

Borsch has made its way into North American and English cuisines by the  Slavic and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe.

Interesting facts:

  • Borsch is unknown in Western countries. The  cultural shock of Americans when they first try red soup has been humored at in the comedy “Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow”.
  • Ukraine became the world record holder for the preparation of borsch. During the international agricultural exhibition called “Golden Autumn”, a 500 kg boiler of one thousand liters of borsch was cooked. For this preparation, it was needed 250 kg of cabbage, 90 kg of onions, 80 kg of carrots, 140 kg of beet, 27 kg of different kinds of meat.
  • Few people today know that  this soup was originally made from cow-parsnip chowder, a plant that most people today consider weeds. So we have to thank borsch’s  appearance to weed.

For a better understanding of Borsch, i will now explain how it is made.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of beef (or meat on the bone)
  • 500 g  of potatoes
  • 300 g of fresh cabbage
  • 400 g of beet
  • 200 g of carrots
  • 200 g of onions
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of vinegar (6%)
  • 2.3 cloves of garlic
  • 2.3 of bay leaves
  • parsley root (dried)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • herbs to taste

Add water to meat and cook for 1.5 hours.

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Cut the meat into small pieces.

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Add meat into broth.

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Shred cabbage into fine strips.

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Mince the onion.

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Grate carrot on medium grater.

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Cut beet into fine strips.

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Cut potatoes into cubes or bars.

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Fry beet in vegetable oil. Then add the vinegar and tomato paste (if the paste is thick, add a little bit of water) and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

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Fry the onion in vegetable oil.

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Add carrots and fry.

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Add potatoes and salt into the boiling broth

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Add cabbage when the broth boils and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

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Add beets and cook for about 10 minutes.

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Add onion and carrot.

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Add bay leaf, parsley root. If necessary, add salt and pepper. Add garlic. Remove from heat, let stand 15-20 minutes.

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Ready to pour into soup bowls!!! Add sour cream and sprinkle with herbs.

Bon Appetit!

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