11 Jul My Favorite Ukrainian Red Borshch
People often ask me to name the most famous Ukrainian dish. This question would be tricky to answer in many countries, but in Ukraine, the reply is obvious – borshch. This meaty, rooty, and incredibly comforting soup is a lifelong symbol of Ukrainian cuisine. But this year, UNESCO made it official – starting July 1st 2022, borsch has been recognized as the intangible part of Ukraine’s cultural heritage. It was a joyful day and a true cultural triumph for all Ukrainians. Now the whole world knows that borshch belongs to Ukraine. I celebrated this major culinary victory by cooking my childhood version of borshch made with meaty pork ribs and served with the fluffiest garlic pampushky.
This is the recipe I’ve been making for years, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. My only advice is that try to get some really flavorful beet. That makes all the difference! Beet is the heart of this dish, and there is nothing worse for borshch than pale, flavorless beet. Besides that minor suggestion, the recipe is straightforward and easy to execute. Just make sure to have enough sour cream in your fridge for serving and some warm garlic pampushky in the oven.
Ukrainian Red Borshch
- 1 1/4 pounds meaty pork ribs
- 2 large yellow onions peeled
- 10 cups water
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral oil
- 2 medium carrots peeled and shredded
- 1 medium tomato diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium red beets peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 3 cups white cabbage shredded
- 1 small bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill and flat-leaf parsley in equal parts, plus more for garnish
- freshly ground black pepper
- sour cream for serving
- In a medium-large pot, combine the pork ribs, 1 whole onion, bay leaf, and water. Bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat and season with a good pinch of salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered, skimming off any foam and impurities from the surface as they develop, until the meat is cooked all the way through, about 45 minutes then discard the onion and bay leaf.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the remaining onion. In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and shredded carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add diced tomato and tomato paste, sauté for another 4 minutes or until the tomato is soft. Remove from the heat.
- Add the potatoes and beets and bring to a simmer over medium heat, cook until the veggies are easily pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Then add the shreaded cabbage, bell pepper and onion-carrot mixture to the soup and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the veggies are soft. Stir in the garlic nd chopped herbs and season to taste with sal and pepper.
- Ladle borshch into bowls. Garnish each serving with some of the dill and parsley and a generous dollop of sour cream.