A culinary business card of the Slavic cuisine is borsch. There is a perfect reason for it.
Healthy nutritious meal, rich taste, vibrant red color and enticing aroma make borsch an unrivalled winner for many people! Due to the perfect ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, borsch is highly nutritious and beneficial for the digestive system.
The vegetables and legumes in borsch (beets, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and beans) are full of vitamins and provide fiber, iron, carotene, lycopene, potassium, and other elements of healthy diet. The broth in borsch is both comforting and good for digestion. Despite (or, perhaps, because) of its long history, borsch can be quite customizable to satisfy different palates. Some like it with meat or beans, some add sour cream, others top it off with croutons, and there are others who like it plain. Every family seems to have its own signature recipe. Borsch is as time-consuming as it is delicious. The good news is that borsch can be enjoyed for several days, since its taste only improves after a day or two. Here is one of our own favorite borsch recipes for you to enjoy.
Time to cook:
- 1 lb beef stew meat (if desired)
- 4-6 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1-2 medium beets, peeled and grated
- 3-4 quarts of water (or broth of your choice)
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 can of canned kidney beans
- 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/4 tablespoon of ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons of fresh dill and/or parsley
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of Celtic sea salt or more to taste
- Garnish: sour cream and fresh sprigs of parsley or dill.
1. If cooking with meat, sear the beef cubes in a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil until browned on all sides. Add beef to a large pot with 3-4 quarts of water along with 1 tablespoon of Celtic sea salt, bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sauté the finely chopped onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add grated carrots and sauté another 5 min or until softened. Set aside.
3. In the same skillet sauté grated beets in 3 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add tomato sauce along with lemon juice, and sauté for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Once the meat has cooked for 45 minutes, add potatoes to the pot and let them boil on medium/low for 10 minutes. Add sliced cabbage, chopped bell peppers, sautéed beets, onions and carrots. Pour in canned kidney beans (if desired). Cook another 10 minutes.
5. Add bay leaves, ground peppers, and more salt to taste. Chop dill/parsley, press garlic, stir them in the soup, cover the pot and remove from heat. Let the pot rest covered for 20 minutes for the flavors to blend.
6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh dill/parsley.
There is also a great option for those of us who lack the time to cook this wonderful dish. Gala’s Meals is offering delicious and healthy dehydrated borsch and other soup mixes, lovingly prepared by chef Galina. The dehydrated soups do not contain any preservatives, MSG, or flavor enhancers. You will need only a pot of water to prepare. These soup kits can sit in the pantry for up to a year without losing their quality or taste. Look for them at www.galasmeals.com