Classic Ukrainian Borscht




  • 1 1/2 lbs beef short rib
  • lb pork ribs
  • 2 beef bones with marrow
  • quarts water
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • medium parsnips peeled
  • stalk celery & leaves
  • salt
  • tied in a cheesecloth bag (3 dill sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs, 4 bay leaves, and 10 peppercorns )


  • large beets baked (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • medium boiling potatoes peeled and cut into large pieces
  • lb fresh ripe plum tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • salt to taste
  • large onion chopped
  • large carrot, peeled and cut into julienne
  • large green bell pepper cored, seeded, and diced
  • cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice to taste
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • teaspoons sugar
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • sour cream


  1. FOR THE STOCK: In a large soup pot, bring the meat, bones, and water to a boil over high heat, periodically skimming off the foam as it rises to the top.
  2. Add the remaining stock ingredients and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Simmer, partially covered, until the meat is tender, at least 45 minutes.
  4. When the stock is ready, remove the beef, pork, and marrow bones, and set all but the marrow bones aside.
  5. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a clean large pot and discard all the solids.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. Meanwhile, wash and dry the beets and wrap each one separately in aluminum foil.
  8. Bake the beets until tender, 1 1/4 hours.
  9. Do this while the stock is cooking.
  10. FOR THE SOUP: Allow the beets to cool until manageable, then stem and peel them and cut.
  11. Bring the stock to a boil, add the cabbage and cook for 15 minutes, add the potatoes, onion, carrots, peppers and cook for 20 more minutes, add beets and tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  12. Season to taste with sugar, pepper, and additional lemon juice and salt.
  13. Simmer for 15 more minutes.
  14. Cut the beef into bite-size pieces and scrape all the meat off the bones. 
  15. Add meat to the soup.
  16. Simmer for 15 more minutes.
  17. Remove the borsch from the heat and sprinkle with the minced garlic, bacon (if desired), and 3 tablespoons each parsley and dill.
  18. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.
  19. Serve with sour cream.
    Serves 12 to 14

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