Dad’s True Russian Borscht
To me true Russian Borscht is how my Russian Dad insisted it be made.
1, Only use beet root. No tops. Ever.
2, It must be made with ‘real’ old fashioned soup bones, and except for one time 5 or 6 years ago I haven’t seen one of those in the store for 20 years or more.
The bones needs to have lots of marrow in them, and have some meat on them. Unless you ask a butcher for these even if you find bones in the store they probably won’t have any meat left on them, but if you were lucky enough to find an old fashioned soup bone you could use that and add a bit stew meat. Not too much though. It won’t be exactly the same but it’s passable. My Dad would cringe, but I’ve done it before.
3, The only other vegetable is a small diced onion.
4, Grate the beets just before you add them to the soup. The texture of the beets is important so they must be hand grated. I use a box grater.
5, The secret ingredient is lemon juice. If you don’t use it the color comes out of the beets and they turn gray.
It has to be fresh lemon juice. NEVER vinegar.
6, Salt and pepper.
Add the bones, and the meat, only add meat if you need to, and the onion to a large pot of water bring to a rolling boil then turn the heat down and slowly boil for about 1 1/2 – 2hrs then let it cool until the fat on the top is hard then remove most of it, but it’s important to leave some fat. It just doesn’t taste right if all fat is removed.
Then bring to a boil again and add the beets and quickly add lemon juice. You only want enough lemon juice to stop the color from coming out of the beets. There should be no lemon or sour flavor to the soup.
Add salt and pepper and cook until the beets are done. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. I like it without sour cream most of the time.
It is really easy to make.
There are a zillion recipes out there that say their version is the real true Russian Borscht but this is the one I grew up with and to me while some of other ones taste okay they just aren’t True Russian Borscht to me.
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