Make Ahead

Birthday Borscht

September 23, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Serves 10-14
Author Notes

My Mother’s borscht adapted from a few different recipes she picked up as a twenty-something in New York City. The story of this recipe involves a short-lived romance with a man that later did time in federal prison! Thank god she met Dad, but this soup is a keeper.

In our family, birthdays meant you picked the dinner menu and this soup is by far the most requested over the years. The quantities are meant to feed a crowd; since it freezes well you might as well just go for it and celebrate all fall. —BetsyB

What You'll Need
  • The night before..
  • 3-4 pounds Beef short ribs
  • 1 pound Beef stew meat, cubed (optional)
  • 3 Celery ribs, chopped coarsely
  • 4 Carrots, chopped coarsely
  • 1 Onion, chopped coarsely
  • 3-4 Beets, unpeeled, tops removed and reserved for another use
  • water
  • The day of..
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce (alternatively tomato paste + water)
  • 1/2 head of large green cabbage, chopped
  • 2-3 Thin-skinned medium potatoes (such as Yukon golds), chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon Beef base (such as Better than Bouillon)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sour cream (for serving)
  1. The night before..
  2. Combine the meat and vegetables into a large stockpot.
  3. Add enough water to cover by an extra 2 inches.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, covered.
  5. Do not add any seasoning.
  6. Take off the heat and put in the fridge to cool, preferably overnight.
  1. The day of..
  2. Take the chilled soup out of the fridge and marvel at the layer of congealed fat that has collected on the top. Skim this fat (easily), you don't have to remove every last tiny piece.
  3. Remove the meat, take it off the bone and chop it coarsely. Return the meat to the pot.
  4. Fish out the beets and remove the peels (easily). Chop coarsely and return to the pot.
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then lower the heat and add tomato sauce (or tomato paste/water mixture), cabbage, potatoes, beef base and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 1 hour, covered.
  6. Serve with sour cream and enjoy.

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