5 Facts about Borsch

Borsch

Borsch is one of the most delicious soups of a beautiful red color.

Many people consider borsch their national dish. It’s believed that borscht was born in the south-western regions of Russia and south-eastern regions of Ukraine. From there it spread first to the south, then to the center, and after – to other regions of Russia.

1. Borsch Used to be Made From Cow Parsnip

A plant from Umbelliferae family – cow parsnip – has been long growing in Russia. Its young shoots were used in food, added to soups (a mature plant is poisonous). From it emerged the name “borsch soup.”

2. Potatoes and Tomatoes Began Being Added to Borsch in the 19th Century

Until then, the main ingredients of borsch were: beets, cabbage, meat (beef or chicken), onions, carrots and herbs. When potatoes came around, they were added to borsch by cutting into cubes or strips. Later tomatoes began being added to borsch as well.

3. Every housewife has Her Own Recipe

It is believed that the standard borsch recipe does not exist. Each borschwill taste different depending on who made it. However, there are certain traditions of cooking borsch, which are specific to certain regions. For example, there is a “Kiev” borsch – with bacon and beans, “Poltava” borsch–using goose broth, “Moscow” one – with sausage, “Lithuanian” – cold. During summer in Russia people often cook green borsch – with sorrel and greens instead of cabbage.

4. To Make Sure Borsch has a Beautiful Color, Beets are Cooked Separately

Beets are cooked separately. They are finely cut and sautéed in fat for several minutes, then added to the soup. Later, other ingredients are prepared the same way. To browned carrots, onions and parsley you add tomato paste. Then you should sauté them until all the vegetables are of uniform color, and then you add them to the broth.

5. A Special Flavor of Borsch Comes from Garlic and Bacon

Bacon fat is grinded in a small mortar with garlic until you get a homogeneous mass. It is then added to borsch a few minutes before it finishes cooking. Then the finished dish is covered with a lid and left to infuse for half an hour.

Borsch is served hot, with a sour cream.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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