Greetings LIFEers! There is nothing better than hot homemade soup on a cold winter's day. But we live in Texas, so we get to eat hot homemade soup on a warm winter's day, which is almost as good. Dr. Anna Apple Schmidt joined our class to share with us her family recipe for Ukrainian vegetable soup, or borscht, as it is commonly known. Borscht is eaten through out Russia and Europe, although the recipe changes from country to country, and household to household. Ukrainian borscht is probably the most famous variety, and it traditionally uses beets, which give borscht its distinctive red color.
1-2 soup shanks (a.k.a. soup bone or sugar bone)
3-4 medium potatoes cut into thin strips (like French fries)
1 can Swanson Vegetable Broth (optional)
2-4 table spoons of oil. Dr. Schmidt uses vegetable or canola oil. Olive, grape seed or any other is also okay.
1 small onion chopped
1-2 medium carrots shredded
1 tomato chopped (optional)
1/4 orange or red bell pepper cut into thin strips (optional)
2 small or 1 medium beet peeled and shredded
4-5 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes (Dr. Schmidt prefers Hunts variety), but you can substitute with tomato sauce.
1 small or 1/2 large cabbage finely shaved
Salt and pepper to taste, and Season All
2 bay leaves
Garnish - sour cream, fresh finely chopped dill and/or parsley
1) One or two days ahead of time boil soup bones until the meat is falling off the bone (3 hours). Refrigerate until you are ready to make the soup.
2) When you are ready to start cooking the soup, heat up the broth with the bones, take the bones out and separate meat from bones, fat, etc... You may discard the meat and bones altogether, surprise your dog, or add the meat to the soup.
3) The broth might be too rich, so consider adding 1 can of Vegetable broth and 1 can of water.
4) Add potatoes cut into strips into the broth and let cook.
5) You may add pieces of meat at any time in the process. Dr. Schmidt usually adds the meat after the potatoes.
6) Meanwhile, on medium heat in a frying pan, saute onions in vegetable oil until translucent or slightly golden. This is your vegetable mixture.
7) Add shredded carrots and continue cooking.
8) When the carrots are cooked, add the following ingredients one at a a time and let cook: thin strips of bell pepper (optional), chopped tomato (optional), shredded beets.
9) When the vegetables are almost done, add 4-5 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
10) Back in the borscht pot, the potatoes should now be cooked. Add the vegetable mixture to the pot and stir.
11) Add salt, pepper, and Season All (makes everything taste better!). Remember, beets and cabbage "eat" salt, so you might have to add more than what you would normally use.
12) Add finely shaved cabbage and 2 bay leaves.
13) Bring everything to a boil, let simmer for 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook the cabbage.
14) Serve in a soup bowl with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with finely chopped dill and parsley.