October 24, 2009
Be warned: This recipe is not a dessert!! I’m leaving the beaten trail and heading into the land of “real” food…
Of all the places mentioned in this blog, Ukraine is the one place that I have not visited. The Ukriane was first introduced to me when my church, at the time, went on a mission trip to do Vacation Bible School over there at a church that partnered with us. Tammy, one of my best friends, along with the Children’s Ministry director, were going with the group over to teach and help out with the overall process of sharing the Gospel with these kids. Well, along the way, some friends of mine met Inna, a sweet, sweet young lady who I was introduced to through mutual friends.
Alongside helping the members of my church, and the church in the Ukraine, Inna brought with her a recipe from her home that she was kind enough to make, and share, with us. Last Thanksgiving Inna got to come down to Georgia to spend part of the holiday with us, and while she was here, she treated us to an authentic Ukrainian dish called Borscht.
Borscht is a mix between a soup and a stew, consisting of cabbage, beets, potatoes, carrots, some form of meat (I used chicken), tomato juice, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. It’s an extremely simple dish, but one that requires a lot of prep and some patience. The chicken needs to be boiled anywhere between 45 minutes to one hour, on High heat, to ensure that it’s cooked through. I used a package of 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I cut into strips and/or cubes. After boiling for about an hour, I added almost an entire bag of pre-shredded cabbage and let it cook over medium heat for 5 -7 minutes. I then added 3 cubed potatoes (peeled or with skins on) in with the chicken and cabbage mixture. You need to let the potatoes cook for at least 10-15 minutes. In a skillet, while the chicken was cooking, I sauteed one medium white onion in a small amount of Canola oil until it was slightly golden, and then added 1 grated carrot and 2 grated beets. To the onion, carrot, and beet mixture, I added 4 oz. or so of tomato sauce. Once the sauce was incorporated, I mixed the vegetables in with the chicken. Let the entire “soup” cook on Medium heat until the potatoes are soft and can be pierced with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
One problem that I encountered was the amount of water in the soup. I ended up needing a bit more liquid in it, so I ended up adding one large glass of hot water to the soup, and added additional spices as needed.
This dish is absolutely wonderful, and a great meal to have on a cool Fall day. One of the staples of this dish is to serve it with sour cream. In my opinion, it’s the sour cream that makes the dish taste complete. It’s just yummy. And, if you want to impress your kids, make this for Halloween. The beets turn the soup a brilliant red/purple color that will add to the “ghoulist” feel of Halloween.
This is one of my favorite dishes to make, and it’s fairly simple to do. Try it out and see for yourself just how delicious this little taste of Ukraine truly is.