Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fun Playing with Borscht

Yes folks, you read that correctly. Borscht. Beet soup. A very gross food memory from my childhood, now reinvented. As I wrote on this blog in April 2008:
Most of my memories of borscht, or beet soup, are of disgusting looking glop in a jar that my mother would buy around the holiday [Passover]; not the kind of food I normally play with.
That post celebrated the lovely borscht made by the late, great Antalya Red Square Restaurant in Lyndhurst.

Jack's Deli, in University Heights, also makes a lovely beef-based borscht.


But a recent post on the Cleveland.com Food & Wine Forum gave me a hankering to try and make it myself. Thanks for the inspiration "Foodhead1000".

Of course, the first thing you need to make borscht are beets. Fortunately, we have an ample supply in the backyard garden. Bob ventured out in the snow to retrieve some:


Of course, after cleaning and peeling them, I forgot to photograph them - oh well!

Anyway, the next thing I did was simmer a beef stock from bones and flesh overnight in a 180 degree-ish oven:

On Sunday, Mister Brisket Flanken (did I mention they are stilll "sending a salami to your boy in the army" - call 216-932-8620 to join the party!) joined the stock and some shortrib for a "double stock" bath. After all the meat was happy, I added the diced beets, together with chopped onion, garden garlic, farmers' market cabbage, salt and pepper, vinegar and sugar.

After a low and slow simmer - borscht was born!

After a night in the fridge - dinner was served, with Bob's freshly baked rye bread:


Non-Jewish Europeans favor a bit of sour cream in their borscht - even Bob, who usually skips the sour cream, wanted some in his. I broke down and tried it, too, even though the look of it reminded me of the jarred abomination from my youth (parve borscht, meaning without meat or dairy, would always be served with sour cream in a Jewish home; the jarred stuff was parve).

Rye bread:

Prior to the oven.



Fun playing with Borscht - who'd have thunk it? A delicious way to play with winter food!


  1. While I love almost all food that you post, I admit that borscht does not appeal to me. No offense! The picture of Jack's borscht did look good tho. I do love pickled beets, but there's something about beets in a soup that I just have a hard time with. But I am very impressed with your husband getting the beets out of your back yard.

  2. Sounds great! I've been dying to try "mama malkin's borscht" (Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguin player, who credits his mom's soup with his success) since she put the recipe out last year during the playoffs. And I love beets, and love that you had some left outside! Yours looks so delicious.

  3. @Bonnie - It was Antalya's borscht that made me realize that real borscht could be delicious.

    @Jamie - would you post the recipe in a comment?