Borsch is the famous soup in many Russian families, as well as many Eastern and Central European countries. The recipes of borsch vary, but vegetables (mainly beet) and sour cream are always the main ingredients. The beetroot used in cooking borsch gives the soup its trademark deep reddish-purple color.
There are many recipes for borsch, so depends who you talk to, you will get very different instructions for how to cook it. Every region in Russia and Ukraine probably has its own borsch recipe.
My version of Borsch is very special! When I grew up in Hong Kong in the 60’s, my parents took me to Cherikoff Restaurant 車厘哥夫餐廳(http://blog.terewong.com/archives/3330) or 雄雞餐廳(sorry no translation/link) for lunch as a treat. These places were the first Russian style western restaurants in Hong Kong. They introduced bakery, Borsch soup, and many other western dishes on the menu. It was a marvelous treat for a kid to eat something so different. Before I came to Canada in 1969, I learned how to make Borsch from 雄雞餐廳. It is more of an old Hong Kong style recipe and most older folks from the same era would remember it’s taste.
- Soup base is very important, ask your butcher for meaty beef neck bone
- To enhance the soup base, roast the beef bone for an hour in 425F oven
- Soup will taste a lot better if you leave it on stove-top overnight
Meaty beef neck bone 8 lbs
Yukon gold potatoes 4x medium size – peel and cut to large chunk
Carrots 4x medium size – peel and cut to large chunk
Beets 4x medium size – peel and cut to large chunk
Tomatoes 6x – cut to large chunk
Celery 2 stalks – cut to pieces
Red pepper 1/2 large size – cut to large chunk
Onion 1/2 – cut to large chunk
Garlic 1-2 small pieces
Bouquets Garnis x2
Tomato paste 1/2 cup
Ketchup 1 cup
Worcestershire 1/4 cup
Seasoning salt 2 tablespoons
Black pepper 1 teaspoon
Kosher salt 1 tablespoon
Green cabbage 1/4 – cut to large chunk
Red cabbage 1/4 – cut to large chunk
Extra virgin olive oil 4 tablespoons
White or red wine 1/2 cup
Bay Leave 2 pieces
Sour cream 1 box
Brown the beef bones in a 425F pre-heated oven for one hour. In a large stock pot, bring 8 litres of water to boil and add the browned beef bones and let it simmer for two hours. Skim the fat off the beef stock. Use a large strainer to collect the bones and remove the meat from the bone after it cools off, set aside for later use. Discard the bones.
Cut up carrot, onion, red pepper, celery, garlic and beet. Heat up a pot with olive oil and brown (caramelize) the vegetables till you can see dark residue appears in the bottom of the pot. It is the sugar from the vegetables from browning. Use 1/2 a cup of white or red wine to deglaze the pot bottom. Scrap and lift all the residue out from the pot. Turn heat off, cover with a lid and let it sits over night.
Bring the beef stock back to boil, add Bouquets garnis, bay leaves, potatoes and tomatoes. Let it simmer for two hours and add the already cooked vegetables from the night before to the soup base. bring soup back to boil for an hour. Finally add green cabbage, tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire, seasoning salt, black pepper and kosher salt for taste. Return the meat removed from the bone earlier back to the soup. Let it boils for 30-45 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Serve with a teaspoon of sour cream.
Optional: serve with Tabasco