Wednesday, May 6, 2020

My Borsch Recipe None Of You Asked For, Which Was Rude.

Eleventy hundred years ago I wrote a post sharing my borsch recipe and periodically people will email me to say that they used it to make borsch themselves and I get embarrassed about this because (A) that post is a big ol' mess and (B) WTF else are people finding on this site from 2007???

So, I decided to do a new borsch post that should be easier to follow. This takes a full seven eternities to make, but we all have at least that much time every day in our houses right now so you might as well fill it with garlic and beets and dill.

Also, about twice a year I get an angry email (usually from some Russian) about how my Ukrainian borsch recipe is incorrect and I should be ashamed of myself. Let me preempt your rage, if you plan to fall in this camp: this is how I learned to make Ukrainian borsch from a Ukrainian babucia in her Ukrainian kitchen in a tiny Ukrainian village in western Ukraine in 2003. If you have a problem with it, take it up with her (in heaven). I wouldn't recommend it though. She told me once she was literally on Stalin's enemy list, and well, you can piece together who lived five decades longer between those two.

Ingredients (This will fill a giant pot. You could easily cut everything in half and still feed an ugly family of six):

2 pounds of stew meat
1 head of garlic
Fresh dill
3 quarts of beef stock
7-8 red potatos
3-4 large beets
5-6 large carrots (or a small bag of shredded carrots)
1 head of purple cabbage
1 large white onion
1 can of pinto beans (optional)

Preliminary Step: Stop calling it "borsht" with a "t" on the end. Ukrainian borsch is not pronounced that way. It ends with a sh-ch sound (the same as when you say the words "fresh cheese").

1. Coat the bottom of your large pot with vegetable oil. Toss in the meat, an alarming amount of dill, rosemary, salt, and about a cup of stock. Cover and slow cook on low for several hours. Just start this first thing in the morning and plan to come back to your pot in the afternoon.

HOT TIP: If you need rosemary, come to my house and get some. We sorely underestimated the size of rosemary bushes when we planted THREE of them two years ago and now we have so much rosemary growing in our backyard that we are on several government watch lists.

Seriously. Come get some. My address is 856 East NICE TRY ROBBERS lane!

2. Add the rest of the stock to the pot and bring it to a boil. Chop the potatoes on a dirty cutting board your husband claims he washed but clearly he didn't because there's some shit on it and no I'm not cleaning it off myself because I care about cleanliness even less than he does so if this is fine with him well then it's fine for me, too buddy. Toss the potatoes in the pot.

Speaking of husbands, do all of this chopping next to a "carbonator" that your husband said you absolutely needed and "I'll use it every single day!" and now it's taking up precious counter space and it has only been used like 5 times in the last year.

3. Chop up about 3/4 of the head of cabbage. Put the rest in a bag and let it rot in the fridge for 6 weeks before throwing it out. Toss the chopped cabbage into the pot. Once the potatoes seem to be relatively softened, turn the pot to low and let it simmer.

4. Peel and grate the carrots and beets.

There are two methods for grating beets. The first is simply using a KitchenAid. The second is taking up drinking and using a hand grater. The first way is better for your liver but the second way will give you red murder hands for the next week.

As an expert chef, I have mastered combining the above two techniques. I'll let you fill in the blanks.

5. Caramelize the onions by your preferred method. The preferred method in my house is: start to caramelize the onions, lose patience, give up, and move on to the next step.

6. Toss the shredded carrots in with the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes.

7. Mix the beets in with the carrots and onion. Pour about a cup of the stock from the pot into this. Add a few more of the garlic cloves and some salt to this mixture. Cook for about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

The beets will sweat (or perspire, if they're ladies) until the carrots are red and nearly indistinguishable from the beets.

8. Pour the beets/carrot/onion mixture into the pot and watch the borsch turn into a vibrant red. 

It should be the color of the blood of your enemies.

9. Add salt, pepper, more rosemary, dill, chocolate syrup, crystal meth, etc. to taste. Simmer for an hour or more. Look fabulous doing it.

10. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh bread for dipping.

Use these specific handmade bowls you bought in Belgrade Serbia in 2015. If you don't have these exact bowls, dump the entire pot of borsch down the garbage disposal because congratulations: you've just wasted your whole day.

11. Pee and poop red stuff for several days.


~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Image missing 😂 I cooked beets one time for a guy. The next morning I peed red and was so freaked out. I came back into his bedroom with this worried look on my face and when he asked what was wrong he said “oh, was it red too?” and that’s when it dawned on me that it was the beets.

  2. My husband recently made borscht (no, I didn't spell it wrong, that's the one he made), and he realized that he enjoyed it, but not enough to eat only it over the course of a week and a half. I ate one serving and remembered that I am not a fan of soup. C'est la vie. Your carbonator is gorgeous. And your hair looks fabulous. I'm jealous!

  3. What exactly does a carbonator do? I could look it up but . . . lazy. And also stressed and overworked. I'm imaging it's something like a Soda Stream?

  4. That was the most passive-aggressive recipe I have ever seen. :)

  5. You need to take some of that extra rosemary and make these cookies. They're delicious!

  6. I tried borscht (yes that kind) for the first time a few weeks ago. It was made with squirrel meat! Squirrel is nearly indistinguishable from chicken. I was shocked. Now I have like 3 frozen squirrels in my freezer so TAKE THAT, MEAT SHORTAGE! I’ll let you know how my squirrel borsch turns out.

  7. Will this make me like beets after all?

  8. I have never said this to ANYONE before in my life, but please please please please PLEASE will you quit your day job and just become a food blogger??? This was the most entertaining recipe I have ever read and yes I actually DO read food blogs and this one wins. It wins ALL OF THE FOOD BLOGS.

    1. Is this really considered a food blog though, if we didn't have to spend 20 minutes scrolling through irrelevant pictures and kitchen utensil giveaway contests and stories about the hardships of homeschooling a dog during quarantine while both parents are either working or schooling from home or how Eli and Skylar take Duncan on walks through dewy meadows to hunt for the best mushrooms that won't even be used for this recipe?

  9. I see - now you update the recipe, after I make it in Belarus with the 2007 that I am back in Southern Utah, where it is 100 degrees, and have no desire to have BORSCH.
    That said, this recipe is much easier to follow. And when we make it back to Belarus, where I will still love Borsch, and it will not be 100 degrees, I will make it...and will have to peel and grate the beets by hand (RED MURDER HANDS!)

  10. I'm honestly committing my Friday to making this recipe. It's giving something to live for this week. I know that sounds dramatic, but just thank you.

  11. Did we lose the current traveling snuggie?

    1. We did not! It's currently practicing social distancing at Amy Rose's house. We're trying to figure out when it's safe to start sending it back out through the world.

    2. I can prove it to the world by posting pictures today. Follow me on Instagram! Haha.

  12. DYINGGGG 😂😂 Also, I LOVE borscht. Buuuut I’m willing to bet my husband’s is more authentic though, seeing as he lived in Russia for two years, and learned to make borscht-without-the-T from a Russian woman in her Russian kitchen, and she was a very devout Mormon and Putin supporter 🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. This is a recipe for Ukrainian borsch. Why would a Russian woman be more likely to pass on an authentic recipe for Ukrainian borsch?

    2. See the first several sentences and the place of origin listed on the right-hand side:

    3. C’mon son! Russian borscht has that unequivocal communist spice to it.

      Let’s take it to the jury. I propose a borscht faceoff at the Strangerville family reunion!

    4. We have Ukrainian pride on this part of the internet, girlfriend. I will cutttt you (and then feed you legitimate borsch because I'm a saint).

    5. Sure, with your “beet red murder hands”. IM NOT FALLING FOR THAT TRICK A THIRD TIME.

    6. Can I come to the reunion if I don't eat any of the borscht?

  13. Shared this post with a friend, just wanting him to read the first two paragraphs because I thought they were funny. He replied with "Thanks, I'm making it this weekend." Still don't know if he found Eli's writing funny or not.

  14. My Ukrainians friend was going to teach me how to make borsch. Then we rescheduled, and then Clovis-19 happened, and then my family was evacuated back to the US, and I’ll never see her again, so the opportunity of being in her kitchen and learning is over. Sigh. Reading your blog makes up for it a bit. Except that I don’t eat meat, and she was going to teach me a vegetarian version.

    Your link to your 2007 “recipe” seems to be “missing” from your post.

  15. I finally got around to making this and we really liked it--even the 9 month baby liked it! Thanks for sharing and making it entertaining at the same time. We did a half recipe and it fed our ugly family of three for about three meals! The only tip I would add (from a Czech grandma) is that if your knives are dull, go out to the apartment cement stairs and sharpen it by sliding it a few times across the steps.