Our Family's version of Borsch

Hello Dear Reader,

This Borsch recipe is a family favourite and one that has been handed down from my hubby's Grandmother. Gran was born in Hong Kong and was of Chinese heritage, she was a wonderful cook and had a huge repertoire of dishes she made for us. I am not sure where Gran got this Russian one, or that it is all that authentic but it is truely delicious, warming and full of goodness. Gran was a bit protective of her recipes and it was only in the last few years of her life that she started giving her recipes away. She would always say, "Oh, it's so easy, you don't really need a recipe" But, I do need recipes to follow, quantities and cooking times especially and even if I have made a certain dish hundreds of times, I still get the recipe out and follow it.

My mum was the same, one day, when I had moved out of home, I rang her for her Chocolate Cake recipe, now Mum had made this Chocolate Cake nearly once a week, every week, when we were little (and not so little) it was my absolute favourite. Mum said "I will just go and get the recipe" I was stunned and said "Don't you know it by heart" Mum said she just wanted to make sure she was giving the right measurements!

So after having Borsch for dinner one night I asked Gran for the recipe and she started talking me through the recipe, I quickly wrote it down on what ever was handy, enter this paper napkin.

Borsch recipe written on a paper napkin 

The method kind of makes sense to me and I have made it quite a few times since we lost Gran in 2013. Grans original recipe called for fresh Brisket but I tend to use Shin Beef as fresh Brisket is hard to find. I made this Borsch for my Family to share when my Daughter and her Partner were down visiting this past week, it is her absolute favourite dish. It is great for a crowd and makes a vat of Borsch, with plenty to go around. I serve it with fresh white bread and butter and sour cream and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I made the mistake of not adding the Beef Stock, it really does need that extra boost of flavour, so don't miss it out.

Ingredients for Borsch (I did end up using 8 carrots, not the 6 pictured) 

2 Kg's Beef such as Shin, Chuck or Blade, cut into big chunks
6 large Beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
8 Carrots, peeled and cut into large batons
1 Drumhead Cabbage (I used 3/4 of this rather large cabbage), roughly chopped
2 X 400 gram cans chopped Tomatoes
2 large onion, peeled and left whole
5 Bayleaves
2 cups of water per person
Salt and pepper, to taste

In the biggest stock pot you have add the beef, stock, water, onions and bayleaves

Bring to the boil and turn down so it is still simmering and let cook away for 1 1/2 hours

Take out the bayleaves and whole onions

Increase the heat and add beetroot chunks, carrot batons and cans of tomatoes

Again, let cook away, for about 4 hours then add the cabbage and let it cook for another 1 to 2 hours, I know it is a long cooking time but you want the meat to be melting tender and all the flavours well and truly mingled.

Now, add as much freshly ground black pepper as you like, and taste to see if it needs salt

Serve in large bowls with loads of sour cream, more black pepper and fresh white bread and butter for dunking in the gorgeous broth. It's probably not the most pretty dish but it IS delicious.

Bowl of Borsch before the sour cream is added 

You could easily half this recipe but it is a great meal to serve when you have to feed a large crowd

So, tell me, is there anyone reading, who can tell me if this is an authentic recipe for Borsch or is it nothing like the original?

Have a great day and thanks for reading.

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