Monday, March 16, 2009

Veselka-Style Ukrainian Borscht and Vegan Ukrainian Borscht!

The last time I was in New York I went to my favorite restaurant in NYC, Veselka, 3 or 4 times in the week I was there. And I was staying upstate! This stuff is what my Ukrainian great-grandma would have cooked if she had ever made me borscht. (Unfortunately, I just got a lot of cabbage rolls.)

When I got home, I was obsessed with recreating Veselka's borscht. I searched all through the internet, without finding the perfect recipe... I did find some that were close, and put this together. Veselka's borscht is savory and hot, not like the more typical sweetened and even chilled Russian version. I owe much of this recipe to Leigh Witchel, from his blog post here.

This weekend I modified the recipe for my vegan friends- it turned out great! It's also cheaper to make with the lack of meat, and the flavor is just as good.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. Let me know if you try one!


Veselka-Style Ukrainian Borscht


3 medium to large beets. (Or 6 small to medium)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp butter

1/2 lb stew beef in ½ inch cubes

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped


4 cups beef stock
2 cups water
1 cup canned diced tomato and liquid
½ small head cabbage.

1 15 oz. can large lima beans (aka butter beans), rinsed and drained

Seasonings to taste –
1/3 cup white vinegar

2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp Tabasco

Sour cream
Fresh dill


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim stalks and taproot from beets. Wash the beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake about 1 hour, until beets are tender and skin separates easily from the beet. Let cool. Peel beets and chop coarsely.

In a large pot, melt the butter and vegetable oil. Brown beef over medium to medium-high heat and add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. When the onions are just translucent, add the beets and sauté another minute or so.

Add beef stock, water, and tomato. While mixture heats to a boil, slice the cabbage into ½ inch wide strips and add to pot. Simmer covered for 45 minutes to an hour, until everything is tender. 5-10 minutes before the soup is done, add the lima beans.

Season to taste. (The vinegar is really what makes this soup.)

Serve with sour cream and fresh dill.

Makes about 16 cups of soup. (Serves 4-8, depending on how many of the people you’re cooking for love borscht as much as I do.)


Vegan Ukrainian Borscht!


3 medium to large beets. (Or 6 small to medium)

2 tsp vegetable oil


1 large garlic clove, minced

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped


4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup canned diced tomato and liquid
½ small head cabbage.

1 15 oz. can large lima beans (aka butter beans), rinsed and drained

Seasonings to taste –
1/3 cup white vinegar

2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp Tabasco

Vegan sour cream substitute
Fresh dill

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim stalks and taproot from beets. Wash the beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake about 1 hour, until beets are tender and skin separates easily from the beet. Let cool. Peel beets and chop coarsely.

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil. Saute garlic, onion, carrots, and celery until onions are just translucent. Add the beets and sauté another minute or so.

Add vegetable broth, water, and tomato. While mixture heats to a boil, slice the cabbage into ½ inch wide strips and add to pot. Simmer covered for 45 minutes to an hour, until everything is tender. 5-10 minutes before the soup is done, add the lima beans.

Season to taste. (The vinegar is really what makes this soup.)

Serve with sour cream and fresh dill.

Makes about 16 cups of soup. (Serves 4-8)

6 Comments:

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Mary said...

Oh! I haven't been to Veslka in years! My fave there is the pieroges.

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Amy (Minimally Invasive) said...

Hi, I've had this post bookmarked for months and finally got around to making a combination of the two recipes today. It was EXCELLENT. Thanks so much for recreating Veselka's wonderful borscht!

http://chimeraobscura.com/mi/b-is-for-borscht/

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger grace said...

A newby to Veselka, I had their borscht last week, and kept remembering the experience with delight. So happy to find your recipe!

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Francesca said...

Sarah,
Do you know of a good substitute for Worcestershire sauce for Vegans since the original has anchovies in it?
Thanks!
Francesca

 
At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Bread said...

I made the carnivore version of this tonight. It was fantastic. I have some vegan friends, so may have to move on to the vegan version given here and get their reviews :) I had some homemade bread on the side too, from a Brooklyn company called Baked Better. Awesome all around.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Daniela said...

my mom used to make Borscht when I was a kid and I loved it so much but I never tried Ukrainian borscht before, i heard they make pour borscht in the plates that are made of bread but im not sure if this is true... Thanks for the recipe though, im hardly a cook, in fact the only place I can cook without causing disaster is Papa Louie Restaurant Games... but this time ill give it my best. Cheers

 

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