Eat and Celebrate!
August 22, 2012
My pupil asked me for an authentic Borcsh recipe. I had invited her for a cooking lesson in Russian. Preparing the vocabulary list associated with cooking
reminded me what an intricate and delicate art it is. Yet, it is a form of art which requires only one qualification – interest. I love cooking ethnic foods from all
over the world because eating is not just a mechanical act of filling one’s stomach, it is experiencing history, culture, environment, ingenuity, and creativity.
Eating is sharing the best moments in your life with those at your table. Eating can make a statement.
For the Fourth of July party, my friend prepared dishes from different countries that, at one time or another, had declared their independence. The American flag in her front yard spoke of her patriotism and allegiance to the USA. Yet, her table was like a world – ethnic dishes decorated with corresponding handmade flags with dates. Like a canvas, a table can express ideas.
We are approaching a season full of celebrations. Please explore our Library collection on cooking, garnishing, table decorating, napkin folding, and ethnic crafts and music.
Also, peek into one of my favorite Research Databases -- CultureGrams. There, you can find a lot of interesting facts and recipes, and hear national anthems.
Today, I will share this authentic (and one of many) Borcsh recipe that I used to cook with my grandmother.
For 1 gallon pot, have ready:
2 Lb. any meat to make
3 Qt. any meat broth
4-5 med. Russet potatoes, cubed
½ cabbage, shredded
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 lg. onions (1 ½ chopped)
3 med. Carrots (2 chopped)
2 lg. beets, cooked whole, peeled, julienned
1-16oz can tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup greens, chopped:
dill, parsley, or green onion
salt, black pepper, bay leaf, 6 pepper corns
oil for sautéing
- To make broth, bring water to a boil, add the meat, 1/2 onion, 1 carrot, bay leaf, and pepper corns.
Bring to simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain the broth; flavor with salt and pepper. Note: whenever I cook Borcsh, I also make some sort of meat salad. I cook this meat whole, rinse, and cut up later for salad. Very economical!
- While the broth is cooking, in a different pot, bring 2 Qt. of water to a boil. Wash the beets very well and add to water, simmering for 30-40 min. (check for doneness with the tip of knife). Remove beets from water, allow to cool, peal, julienne slice. Let the beet water settle, then add it to the strained broth. This adds color and richness to Borcsh.
- In a frying pan, sauté the chopped onions in oil till translucent; add chopped carrots and sauté till slightly caramelized; add sliced beets and sauté a bit longer; add tomato sauce and cook stirring, allowing to stick to the pan slightly (this adds sweetness), for about 5-10 min. Set aside.
- Into prepared broth, add cubed potatoes and cook for 5 min. Add shredded cabbage, sliced bell pepper, and the sautéed veggies into the pot and cook 5-10 min. longer. Remove the pot from heat and allow the temperature to decrease before adding garlic and greens. Check for salt. Let rest for 30 min. before serving. Can serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Lone Jack Branch