In “Please to the Table,” authors Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman write that a “proper” Ukrainian borshch “should include pork or ham and other meats — the more, the better.” And in “Mamushka,” author Olia Hercules says the onion-and-carrot aromatic base “is a distinctively Ukrainian soffritto technique called smazhennya or zazharka.”
You can use store-bought beef stock, vegetable stock or even water if you don’t have two days to make the soup. It won’t be as flavorful, but it will still be delicious. The borsch tastes better the next day.
Make Ahead: The stock needs to be made 1 day in advance of making the soup.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
NOTES: Ask your butcher to split the marrow bones. Depending on the diameter of your pot and the length of the bones, you may also want them to cut the bones in half across.
We tested the soup in an 8-quart pot and filled the pot 1/2 inch from the brim. It’s possible, but precarious.
- 2 pounds bone-in beef chuck
- 1 meaty ham bone (1 to 2 pounds)
- 1 pound beef marrow bones, split lengthwise (see NOTES)
- 3 1/2 quarts water, or more as needed
- 1 large yellow onion (12 ounces), unpeeled
- 2 medium parsnips (10 ounces total), scrubbed (optional)
- 1 large carrot (5 ounces), scrubbed
- 1 celery rib with leaves
- Bouquet garni (3 plush fresh dill sprigs, 3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, 4 bay leaves and 10 black peppercorns tied in a cheesecloth pouch)
- 2 quarts water
- 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into chunks
- 1 pound beets, peeled and diced
- 1 pound waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled, if the skin is tough, and diced
- 2 teaspoons fine salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil, preferably unrefined
- 2 medium yellow onions (1 pound total) chopped
- 2 large carrots (10 ounces total), coarsely grated
- 1 large green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- One (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 pound green cabbage (1/2 medium head), shredded
- Two (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Granulated sugar, to taste (optional)
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
- Sour cream, for serving
- Fresh chopped dill, for serving
Make the stock: In a large soup pot (at least 10 quarts, see NOTES), combine the beef chuck, ham bone and marrow bones with the water — if the water doesn’t cover the meat, add more as needed — and bring to a boil over high heat. As the liquid comes to a simmer, it will start to produce gray scum that will float to the top; skim it periodically.
Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low so the broth is at a gentle simmer. Add the onion, parsnips, if using, carrot, celery and bouquet garni, then partially cover and cook until the meat is tender and the stock is flavorful, 2 to 3 hours. Remove from the heat, discard the solids (or save for another use), then let cool for about 1 hour and refrigerate overnight.
Make the borshch: The next day, skim off the fat from the stock (it should be a generous layer) and discard or save for another use. You should have about 3 quarts of stock. Add the water and the short ribs, set the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to low and add the beets and potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper — you want a flavorful but not aggressively seasoned stock — and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and carrots, and cook, stirring, until the carrots soften and start to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is slightly toasted and darkens, about 2 minutes. Add the diced tomato and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the pot with the broth. Let the soup simmer to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes, then taste, and season with more salt and/or pepper, if desired.
Add the cabbage and beans to the broth and simmer until cooked through and softened, about 20 minutes. Taste, and if you like, round out the flavors with a little sugar and/or lemon juice, as desired, then remove from the heat.
Ladle borshch into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream, if desired, and garnish with the chopped dill. Serve hot.
Per serving (2 cups borsch, using unsalted beef stock)
Calories: 245; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 40mg; Sodium: 594mg; Carbohydrates: 21 g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 15g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.