Borsch is usually beet-root based a slightly sour soup popular in Eastern European cuisines. There is an awful lot of ways to cook it. Recipes differ considerably from one another. In every country, borsch is a bit different. Some countries even have several variants of this soup. Here I am mentioning one of the Armenian recipes, which in my opinion is of the most balanced composition. I will not deal with individual ingredients as in most of my other recipes, because this soup is simply an example of combining different kinds of vegetables and meat into one harmonic whole. According to the traditional Chinese medicine approach, I would say that this soup has greatly strengthening effects. It strengthens the stomach, spleen, liver and promotes digestion. Most ingredients are neutral. Cold tomatoes are very well balanced with the warm nature of onion, garlic and other spices.
You will need:
500 grams of beef
2 medium beets
1/4 of a smaller celery
1 big potato (or yam)
1 big onion
1/4 of a medium cabbage
1 clove of garlic
3 bay leaves
1-2 big tomatoes (or canned peeled and chopped tomatoes, approx. 1 can)
black pepper, salt, coriander, parsley, cumin
Cut the meat into small pieces and briefly brown it on a big pan from all sides. Transfer the meat to a larger pot and put it aside. Chop onions, garlic and cut cabbage, peel and grate red beets, carrots and celery. Put the onion and garlic into the pan in which we had browned beef before and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the grated beets, cabbage, carrots and one teaspoon of cumin to the pan, mix it with onion and garlic and sauté for a while together. Then add this mixture to the pot with the beef, add about three-quarters of a litre of water, the bay leaves, cover with a lid and simmer on a mild flame until the meat is soft. Very often, beef has to be stewed for quite a long time, so I personally prefer to prepare this soup in a crockpot, where I can let it steam slowly overnight. The meat is then beautifully falling apart. However, if you do not have a crockpot, count at least three hours for steaming meat. About half an hour before the end of steaming add the sliced potatoes, peeled and chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cut the potatoes into the larger pieces because they tend to melt into a mash. The soup is ready when potatoes are cooked. Serve hot with a tablespoon of sour cream and chopped coriander on top.
The amount of each ingredient is variable and, of course, you can adjust it according to your taste, the desired therapeutic effect and the season. In the cold months (autumn, winter) you can add more warming ingredients, more onions and garlic, add a piece of ginger (fresh or dried), instead of water you can use, for example, chicken broth. Sour cream could be of course omitted.
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