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Does anyone have a good recipe for a serious, winter, meal-like borscht with meat? Because there's a winter storm coming in Sunday here in New York, and something hot, red, and hearty is sounding great.

Also, how come when I start a new topic I don't get the "New" graphic like the rest of you seem to?

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  1. bumping seahorse's request...i' ve been aching for some meaty borsht myself..

    1. The recipe for borscht in Joy of Cooking is good, although meatless. I usually just add some meat to it. Here's a paraphrase, with meat added (I'm not the most exact cook, so if you want more specific amounts/times, let me know and I can pull out the cookbook): cube the beef, toss it with a little flour, cook in some olive oil, then add carrots, celery, and onion, cook for a few minutes. Add beets (I always have roasted beets in my freezer, and usually have beet pickles in the fridge - a mix of the two is really good, but I think it probably helps to have your beets at least partially cooked already. Maybe someone else will chime in here...), cover with stock (beef if you have it, but I just use whatever I have - homemade is always better, but the boxes of organic chicken stock from Costco aren't bad in a pinch). Add vinegar to taste (I think the recipe calls for a tablespoon or two, but I usually use more), then chopped cabbage. Simmer for awhile. I serve with a dollop of sour cream, but I think the recipe suggests pumpernickel bread, too.

      Re: the "new" graphic, I'm pretty sure that doesn't show up because it's not new for you - the new graphic is just for topics that have new activity that you've not seen, I believe.

      1. I've been making borscht for years and years, but the best I've ever made came from starting with a brisket pot roast. I brown the meat first, then add wine, water, stock, etc., to just about cover the meat. Add lots of onion, garlic, carrots, parsley, celery. Bring to boil and cover, put in a low oven for at least three hours.

        The broth that results makes a fantastic base for borscht, and any meat left over from your pot roast meal shreds nicely into the soup. Just re-heat the broth, add beets (I use some grated and some chopped into pieces) and whatever vegetables you want. I usually put in carrots, more garlic, cabbage, potatoes, maybe an onion or two, and sometimes some large white beans, if I've remembered to soak them. Add some vinegar, and maybe a little sugar, just to taste. Cook till the beets and potatoes are done, add the meat back in and heat through, and I always finish it with a good handful of fresh chopped dill.

        Amounts are really up to you. It's hard to go wrong, so you should just experiment.

        1. seahorse:

          you got me craving the red stuff, so I pulled a recipe from epicurious and it's now in the works...it's rather laborious, as it calls for making a beef stock, which i did last night...i'm finishing the soup up tonight and will post the results.

          here's the recipe i'm using

          Hot beef borscht with sour cream Bon Appétit | March 1997
          Serves 10.

          BEEF STOCK
          2 tablespoons vegetable oil
          3 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
          1 large onion, sliced
          3 1/2 quarts water
          2 celery stalks, chopped
          1 carrot, coarsely chopped
          12 whole black peppercorns
          2 bay leaves
          2 whole cloves
          10 medium beets (about 2 inches in diameter), rinsed, tops trimmed
          1 cup water
          3 cups (about) canned beef broth
          2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
          1 cup diced carrots
          1 cup chopped onions
          6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
          4 teaspoons minced garlic
          1 large russet potato, peeled, diced
          2 tablespoons (or more) red wine vinegar
          Sour cream

          FOR STOCK: Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of beef ribs and sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining ribs; transfer to plate. Add sliced onion to pot. Sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Return ribs and any juices to pot. Add 3 1/2 quarts water and remaining stock ingredients. Bring to boil, skimming any foam from surface. Reduce heat and simmer until ribs are very tender, skimming foam occasionally, about 2 1/2 hours.
          Using tongs, transfer ribs to plate.
          Strain stock into large bowl. Chill stock until fat solidifies on top, at least 3 hours. Remove meat from bones; cut away excess fat. Shred meat finely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover meat and chill. Keep stock chilled.)
          FOR BORSCHT: Preheat oven to 375°F.
          Arrange beets in single layer in 13x9x2-inch baking dish; add 1 cup water. Cover; bake beets until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Cool beets. Peel and cut into 1/3-inch dice.
          Remove fat from surface of stock.
          Add enough canned beef broth to stock to measure 10 cups.
          Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium-low heat.
          Add diced carrots and chopped onions and sauté 10 minutes. Add cabbage and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Add 10 cups beef stock, beets, potato and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Simmer until cabbage and potato are tender, about 20 minutes. Add shredded meat; simmer 5 minutes. Season with additional red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
          Ladle borscht into bowls.
          Top each with dollop of sour cream and serve.

          Using tongs, transfer ribs to plate.
          Strain stock into large bowl. Chill stock until fat solidifies on top, at least 3 hours. Remove meat from bones; cut away excess fat. Shred meat finely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover meat and chill. Keep stock chilled.)
          FOR BORSCHT: Preheat oven to 375°F.
          Arrange beets in single layer in 13x9x2-inch baking dish; add 1 cup water. Cover; bake beets until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Cool beets. Peel and cut into 1/3-inch dice.
          Remove fat from surface of stock.
          Add enough canned beef broth to stock to measure 10 cups.
          Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium-low heat.
          Add diced carrots and chopped onions and sauté 10 minutes. Add cabbage and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Add 10 cups beef stock, beets, potato and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Simmer until cabbage and potato are tender, about 20 minutes. Add shredded meat; simmer 5 minutes. Season with additional red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
          Ladle borscht into bowls.
          Top each with dollop of sour cream and serve.

          1. The above recipes look good, but I always roast my beats at 325F for 40-60 minutes, depending on size. I roast them unwashed, and dry, just on the middle rack.

            1. My ex boyfriend's mother (russian) made the very best borsch, and there was always a huge chunk of beef in it, that you could pull pieces off, and probably a beef bone, unlike mine which has chuck cubes. But it's the closest I have had in quality. It's really loaded with vegetables and meat, it's totally a meal.

              I posted this last week on a thread about favorite soups:

              "I think my favorites are autumn minestrone (got the starter recipe from GretchenS on chowhound a few years back, thanks Gretchen), Matzoh ball and I have a fantastic recipe for borscht...labor intensive, but SO FREAKING GOOD. Loaded with shreddy beef and lots of vegetables...I will paraphrase this one:
              4T veg oil
              1 1/2 lbs lean beef in 1" cubes
              2 med onions, chopped
              2 qts water
              1 bay leaf
              3 med potatoes in 1" cubes
              2 1/2 cups grated beets (6-7 med beets)
              3/4 cup grated carrot
              1/2 med cabbage, shredded (maybe a little less than 1/2)
              1/4 tsp pepper
              3T tomato paste
              1 garlic clove, mashed to a puree
              4 T cider vinegar
              1/4 tsp celery seed
              1/4 tsp salt

              Brown beef in batches. Add onion during last few minutes, cooking til translucent. Remove pot from heat, add water and reserved beef & bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until meat is tender, maybe an hour. Remove bay leaf and skim broth. Add potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage, pepper, tomato paste, garlic, vinegar, celery seed & salt. Keep at a low simmer for about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO BOIL or it will turn brown instead of red. You can serve it at this point, with sour cream and dill, but it's best the next day.

              My notes on this recipe: Depending on how flavorful the beef is, I have from time to time added a beef bouillon cube. Also, I find that it's best to parboil the potatoes, for some reason they don't want to cook through...as if something in the broth prevents it. Maybe it's the vinegar...I think I'll try putting that in last next time..."

              1. That's a good recipe! But where's the dill? I usually use a big sprig in the broth, which you can make in the slow cooker. When you serve, garnish with chopped dill to taste. Oxtail is good for broth too. And if you want Meaty - substitute the beef fat you skim off the broth for the butter!

                I never make borscht exactly the same twice. It is so hard to mess up. If you have leeks, parsnip or turnip, use them. No cabbage, or cabbage-haters at the table? Kale or collards will do.

                Baking the beets is good but you can get away with boiling well scrubbed unpeeled beets. Use a minimum of water and save it for the soup. After I peel and dice them I saute them right in the big pot with some of the beef fat just like the carrots, onions or whatnot, in stages if necessary, before adding the liquids.

                Also recommended: One chile pepper in the pot, or a pinch or two of cayenne. A half teaspoon of powdered ginger.

                1. So i made the Bon Apetit recipe listed above...my conclusion was that it's decent, though not knock yer socks off awesome...I pretty much followed the whole thing to a Tee, including making the beef stock ahead of time, although I boiled my beets and used the cooking water to make up for the 10 cups (yes! 10 cups!! ) of liquid the recipe stated that i needed......The solids to liquid ratio is a little out of control, so i would suggest using less "stuff" i.e. cabbabage, beets, potatoees, and allowing the whole thing to simmer for another hour after the beets are added .

                  BTW: i look up borscht on epicurious and read the recipe reviews on each one, as each recipe manages to insult someone's ukranian/polish/russian ancestry.....

                  1. oops how could I forget mushrooms? Dried porcininis especially helpful if you are making it meatless.

                    1. Wow, thanks for all the advice and info! I did make it yesterday. I used short ribs, which I browned and then simmered with onions and garlic for an hour -- in water, figuring it would make its own stock. I added lima beans, which I had pre-soaked, and let it go another half-hour. Then came all the vegetables -- carrots, parsnips, cabbage, celery root (the farmers were glad they brought their root vegetables to market) and the beets which I had pre-roasted, but they were still a pain to peel, and what a mess, but hey. A few splashes of red-wine vinegar, hot paprika. Another 45 minutes or so. Towards the end I threw in a bunch of scallions and a bunch of dill. And ate it with a dollop of sour cream, of course. It was really good, and the bright red and orange colors were perfect for a dismal day. I like stew-ish soups, but I think I actually overdid it on the vegetables. I made enough to feed half the population of Minsk, so you are all welcome for leftovers!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sea97horse

                        When did you peel the beets? If you peel them when they have fully cooled, they are more difficult than if they're warm or even hot.

                        Have you tried wrapping the beets individually in tin foil and roasting? The skin slips off effortlessly as long as you peel while they're quite warm. I can just push against a spot on the skin and it slides off intact.

                        Technically, the foil method may not be roasting but the results are infinitely better than boiling and the peeling is super easy.

                        1. re: Indy 67

                          When I roast my beets, I just place them on the oven rack. When they're done, I remove them, and let them return to room temperature before I peel them. I use a paring knife, picking the skin between the blade and my thumb, and the skin comes away easily. You do get a bit of pigment on your skin, but it shouldn't be too messy.

                          I agree with Indy67 that *some* sort dry method is required in advance of building the borsht.

                      2. A little late to help the OP, but I just made mine yesterday. This is a recipe which I've been tweaking over the years and am very happy with it. It's very hearty with beef and lots of vegetables. My house still smells like it from simmering the soup all afternoon yesterday ;-) See pic!
                        Mona's B3- Best Beef Borscht: http://houndstoothgourmet.com/monas-b...

                        1. Borscht

                          Serves: 6

                          Beet borscht is a traditional soup common in Russian, Ukrainian, and Jewish cooking.

                          As served at the Russian Tea Room, New York City.

                          The RTR, as addicts called the place, opened as a tea room in the 1020’s and closed July 27, 2002 less than three years after its spectacular but ill-fated $30 million renovation.


                          • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
                          • 1 cup shredded carrots
                          • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
                          • 1 parsnip, finely chopped
                          • - water
                          • 1 Tablespoon butter
                          • 3 cups beef broth
                          • 1½ cups julienne strips of raw beets
                          • 1½ cups shredded cabbage
                          • 1 cup tomato sauce
                          • - salt
                          • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
                          • - sour cream (garnish)


                          1. In a black cast iron pot, barely cover carrots, onion, celery and parsnip with boiling water.
                          2. Cover pot and allow vegetables to simmer for 15 minutes.
                          3. Add butter, stock, beets, cabbage and tomato sauce.
                          4. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until all vegetables are tender but still keep their shape.
                          5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
                          6. Heat through then ladle into bowl, with sour cream on the side.

                          Notes, Recipes and Comments:

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: State St.

                            Some of the above recipes sound like what my grandmother made for my Russian-Jewish grandfather. I remember tons of garlic, pepper-seemed like it would make you sweat on a cold winter's day. Made with flanken, lots of marrow bones, potatoes. There was a significant sweet/sour component. She would use "sour salt"- citric acid crystals or lemon juice, along with some added sugar to compliment the sweetness of the beets. Much different from the cold, sour-cream added soups of the summer. Don't remember there being any dill in the winter versions.

                            1. re: State St.

                              this sounds more like my style...the borsht i made above was WAYY too beefy...i thought the idea of shredded shortribs sounded great, but in reality, i was really just looking for a superbeefy and brothy, not shredded meaty...

                              And seahorse: I landed up with about 4 quarts of soup...i think we should share the invitees

                            2. I made foil packages with the beets, 2-3 each, baked at 325 for an hour, I think. I peeled them when they were just cool enough to handle. They weren't super-difficult to peel, just not as easy as I'd expected. And my hands looked like they could have gotten a role in a horror movie, but everything cleaned up okay. Maybe one just has to get the feel of beet-peeling with practice. If you dry-roast them on the oven rack, do they ever leak and drip onto the bottom?

                              And to Sixelagogo (love that moniker) : my 12-quart soup pot was almost full! Sometimes I have no sense of moderation...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sea97horse

                                I don't do this, but you could wear those disposable medical latex gloves, if you want to avoid the staining. I do use them when I'm dealing with jalapenos, scotch bonnets, etc.

                                I trim my beets just above the bottom of the greens. If you cut into the root itself, you will get some leakage, but if you cut the stalk, it will be minimal. I keep a foil lining on the base of my oven, so that helps the clean up.

                                To peel the beets, do let them cool completely. It's easier and I think that they will bleed less (rather like roasting meat). Slice off the top of the root, and, assuming that you're right-handed, hold the beet in your left hand, and with the paring knife, cut into the root as though you were peeling an apple, and with the skin between the blade and your right thumbdraw the strip toward the bottom tip of the root. I suppose that it might take a bit of practice, but after your third or fourth borsht (i.e., by the end of winter), you'll be a dab hand at this.

                                Just a note: I don't use meat in the borsht. I save bones from my roasts, steaks, and veal chops, and freeze them after they have been roasted. I then build my borsht on a stock made from them, plus onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, cleriac. When the stock is made, all that vegetation is discarded. Also, the carrots, onion, parsnip, celeriac, cabbage, which will go into the stock *after* it is made, all get a bit of a saute in butter with some whole pepper corns, whole allspice berries (this is a Finnish touch - we use allspice a fair bit in stews, mojakkas, etc - which adds a further dimension), and a bay leaf or two, and deglazing with white wine vinegar before it goes into the stock. I don't use sugar, because the sauteing of the root veg adequately concentrates the naturally occuring sugars, to my palate. In the stock: sauted veg, roasted beets cut into wedges, three (if they're largish) tinned tomatoes, a couple of diced potatoes. For myself, I prefer my borsht chunky. It should be so thick that you can stand a wooden spoon in it. If it's being made for someone else who prefers it smooth, I puree the final product.

                                This is a variation on the recipe found in Anne Volokh's The Art of Russian Cuisine. I don't know whether it's still in print, and if so, whether it has been updated (publ. 1983), but I've looked at other Russian cookbooks, and whatever the weakness of Volokh's (chiefly no photographs and not much in the way of illustration), I've never been moved to buy another one. It really is encyclopedic (eight variations on borsht).

                                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                  I don't think I saw anyone add shredded beet leaf tops, or beet leaves. Also very good, add great flavor! I also have had it with fried ground beef added, not bad, nice change.

                              2. Here is my Bubbe's Cabbage Borscht recipe:

                                3 lb. head of cabbage grated, or shredded
                                1 12oz. can Tomato paste [Hunt’s]
                                Juice of one lemon or sour salt (to taste)
                                Sugar to taste
                                About 2 quarts water
                                About 3 strips top rib

                                Brown beef. Cook on low about 2 1/2 hours. If you find the color too pale or thin add another 7 oz. can of paste. Can use sweet & low about 5 or 6 packages to taste or can use another sugar substitute.

                                1. The Russian Tea Room is once again in business and their borscht recipe (different from the earlier era Russian Tea Room recipe cited above) is online here (including a video):


                                  This looks fairly easy and would be interesting to try as well modified with the brisket mentioned in a recipe above. (Since it's so simple, it ought to be stellar with homemade stock, but I'm sure it's good with commercial stock too -- it's borscht, it's hard to go wrong with it.)

                                  Russian Tea Room Borscht Recipe
                                  (circa 2008)

                                  ½ pound bacon, diced
                                  1 tablespoon garlic, minced
                                  1 cup yellow onion, chopped
                                  1 carrot, peeled and grated
                                  2 quarts beef stock
                                  3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, plus more to taste
                                  6 cups shredded green cabbage
                                  1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
                                  1½ pounds red beets with green tops removed, grated
                                  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
                                  Sugar, to taste (optional)
                                  1 cup sour cream
                                  ½ cup fresh dill, chopped

                                  1. Place the bacon in a Dutch oven or stockpot and cook over medium-high heat until the fat begins to render, about three minutes.
                                  2. Add the garlic, onion and carrot and cook until soft, about four minutes.
                                  3. Drain any excess fat and add the beef stock. Bring to a boil.
                                  4. Add the red-wine vinegar, cabbage and potato and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
                                  5. Taste and season with additional red-wine vinegar if needed. Add the beets and cook until they are soft, approximately five minutes.
                                  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the borscht seems acidic, add a little sugar to round out the flavor.
                                  7. Ladle the borscht into serving bowls and garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a pinch of fresh dill.

                                  1. I see this is an old thread here, but am replying anyway in case it's of some use to someone who may come here in the future.

                                    While there's regional variation in borsch, for authentic Russian or Ukrainian style, there are a few bits of common wisdom about making it that people not familiar with it don't generally know about.

                                    - It's good to use meat with the bone in it... this adds to the quality of the stock.

                                    - When the meat is cooked in the water, take it out and cut into chunks. Add back into the pot. You should add the potatoes and cabbage at this time. They both cook well in around 25-30 minutes.

                                    - Everything simply being thrown into the pot of water and boiled may be a nice vegetable soup, but this isn't really borsch. Traditionally the onions (diced) and carrots (typically grated, but they can be diced as well if you prefer) are fried first in a little fat. Fry onions until translucent then add carrots. When the carrots have softened and are done and the onions are just beginning to turn golden on the edges it's done. You can add this into the pot around 15 minutes till the end of cooking.

                                    - Similarly, the beets (also typically grated) are fried to soften first, maybe about 10 minutes. You should add your tomato paste/tomatoes/vinegar into the beets while you're frying them. Note that this acid helps the beets retain their nice color. The beets are also added back into the pot around the last 15 minutes of cooking.

                                    - You should add the crushed garlic in at the very end, as you do with your chopped parsley and dill. Immediately turn off the flame and put the lid on the pot. Let this sit and "brew" for 20 minutes or so--this gives a nice flavor.

                                    - Spoon a bit of sour cream onto the top of the bowl when you serve.

                                    - Pepper and bay leaves are typically added when cooking.