Being of Jewish-Ukrainian descent, Borsht (cold, hot, green and vegetarian variety) is a staple in my kitchen. I do not subscribe to the notion that 'only I can make it right'. I have my own recipe, honed by years of trial and error and that's
how my family likes it - but I've tried dozens other recipes that were completely different and still amazingly good. So here's the first Borsht recipe, the meat variety.
I cooked using 'eyeball method' for the most of my life but I realize now
that if I want the recipe to be useful to anyone else but me I have to measure, so this step-by-step comes with measurement - but please use your judgement as well. Some like more salt, some like thicker soups or thinner, more brothy ones so feel free to adjust
the recipe to your preference.
For this particular recipe you will need:
2 lbs veal (with bone, breast or chop, beef short ribs could work too but take longer to cook)
2 large beets
1 parsley root
½ head of cabbage, shredded
1-2 sweet peppers, finely diced
3-4 large carrots
3-4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 can (14 oz) of peeled crushed tomatoes
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Cut veal into 3-inch chunks, breaking the bone with a cleaver if necessary (if using beef place meat and bones into cold water, bring to a boil and
drain the water, rinse the meat then continue with the recipe). Peel beets and carrots, place into large soup pot filled with water (min. 4 quarts) with the meat, bay leaf, parsley root and onion, bring to a boil skimming off scum, salt and let simmer
until the beets are soft when tested with a fork. Remove beets and carrots, set aside to cool, remove and discard the onion and the parsley root.
Put cabbage, pepper and potatoes into the pot with meat, bring to a boil and reduce heat
to simmer. Grate cooled beets and carrots, set aside. In a bowl mix the crushed tomatoes with tomato paste, salt, pepper, a little vinegar and sugar (keep tasting so the sweet/sour balance is to your liking) When the cabbage and potatoes are soft,
put grated beets and carrots and tomato mixture into the pot, bring to a boil and let simmer for half an hour, then turn off the heat.
Serve piping hot with sour cream, sprinkle of fresh parsley and pumpernickel bread. Make sure to place a chunk
of veal into every bowl.