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updated NOV 24 2017

Ukrainian Recipes: Mom's Borscht - Ukrainian Beet Soup

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A steaming bowl of borscht
A steaming bowl of borscht, with a dollop of sour cream...mmmmmm
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• 1 package stewing beef
• 1-2 squirts of vinegar
• 1 cube or package powdered beef broth
• 3-4 raw beets
• 1-2 raw carrots
      • fresh dill (optional)
• 1 raw potato
sour cream, to add when serving.

• Rinse stewing beef. If necessary, cut it into spoon-sized pieces. Put beef in a large pot; add water until the pot is three-quarters full.
• Add salt to taste. Add 1 package of powdered beef broth to the water. Add the squirt or two of vinegar (less than a teaspoon). This will help to tenderize the meat. Stir. Boil the beef for 1-2 hours, depending on how much beef you have. A scum may form on top, just skim it off.

• Peel raw beets. Grate them (if you have a food processor, now is the time to use it. If you don't have one, you can use a hand grater, but be warned that your hands will turn purple, and it may last a day or so).
• Peel the carrots; cut them into small pieces--remember this is a soup, so everything should be able to fit on a spoon.

• Once the beef has been boiling for 1-2 hours, add the carrots (they take longer to cook than the beets).

• Peel and cube the raw potato.

• About 5-10 minutes later, add the beets and potatoes. Slow boil for about 20 minutes--but keep an eye on it, because if beets are boiled too long, they can lose their coloring. You can add the dill at this point - many, many recipes for borscht have dill (to taste) in them, but our family never used it. So, if you're a fan of dill, by all means, add some!

• When soup has been ladled out into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl. Stir into soup. This can make it quite rich, so adjust according to taste. Do the same with additional salt and pepper.

• Feel free to play around with this recipe--many people like to add the (chopped) beet greens. But you can also add peas, beans, cabbage, tomatoes, just about anything you'd put in any soup. You can also make it with chicken instead of beef, or use vegetable stock to make a vegetarian version.

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