CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Winter Borscht

Nothing takes the chill off a cold winter day than a big bowl of soup. That’s probably been true since early man started throwing meat and vegetables in a pot over an open fire pit.

One soup that’s been around a long time is borscht, which is derived from an ancient soup originally cooked from pickled stems, leaves and umbrels of common hogweed, a herbaceous plant growing in damp meadows.

The soup has come a long ways since then. Nowadays, most borscht is prepared in the traditional Slavic style, with beets, carrots, cabbage, potato, onion, carrot tomatoes and a meat or bone stock. It originated with Russians and Ukrainians and later was adopted by Germans who settled in the Black Sea and Volga areas of what was once Imperial Russia.

Many people who grew up in the Dakotas and Minnesota are familiar with the tangy soup, especially those descendants of Germans from Russia who began arriving in this country in the late 1800s and early 1900s, bringing borscht recipes with them.

I put the following together after reading a couple of old family recipes that were passed on to me by friends over the years. It definitely warmed me up last when Blizzard Alivia struck last week

Winter Borscht
8 cups water
1 cup tomato juice
3 beef bouillon cubes
6 carrots, 1-inch slices
6 small beets, cooked and diced
1 cup cabbage, chopped
1 cup green beans
1 onion diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 potatoes, cubed
2 turnips, cubed
½ cup pearled barley
4 tablespoons fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
Place all the ingredients in pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

3 thoughts on “CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Winter Borscht”

  • Nancy Hons December 12, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Been making borscht for 50+ years! Thanks for reminding that I have a few beets left from my garden. A good time to use them!! Do you add sour cream and a bit of lemon juice??

    1. Jeff Tiedeman December 12, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      You could, and I have.

  • Helen Murphy December 14, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Sounds healthy and tasty. I grew up with a school cook who made borscht. I did not appreciate it then and tried to hide it in my empty milk carton. It was one of the things I learned to like as an adult although I have not had a good bowl of borscht. It sounds good because it is full of things I like. Had I known, I would have braved the weather and made a visit to your house. Might have to try it but would have to use canned beets from the store.


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