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Ukrainian Borschtsch

My grandmother's borscht was always special, because she didn't prepare it according to a given recipe, but with a lot of heart. Each time she experimented a little bit. I can still remember that after an active day outdoors, there was always borscht for refreshment. Borscht is an everyday dish in the Ukraine. You don't cook it during the holidays. Ukraine was originally a large agricultural country and borscht was the typical meal after a hard day's work in the fields. Today the dish is still very popular and is cooked in almost every Ukrainian family. It is often served as a starter or as an intermediate course. But with a large portion you can get really full of it.
The following recipe is only a basis, the dish can be creatively adapted. Enjoy it!

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Preparation:

  1.     First of all, put the washed meat with cold water (enough to cover the meat) and cook it. The first water from the meat should be shaken out and the foam should be removed from the pot. The broth from the second cooking can then be used. On the second boil, add a whole onion and a few bay leaves for flavour. Cook for about 1 hour (comes on top of the meat, in case of beef cook until it is ready).
  2. Further remove the boiled onion and bay leaves from the meat stock and cut the finished meat into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Next, add the diced potatoes and the grated white cabbage to the meat stock and bring to the boil, then cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. In this time prepare the main basis for borscht: grate beetroot and carrot, cut onion into small pieces. First fry the onion in oil in a frying pan until it turns a light golden colour, then add the grated carrots and beetroot, and fry everything together for about 15 minutes over a low heat. Add tomato paste (or chopped tomatoes) and continue to fry briefly. Add a little water if the mixture gets too dry. Add pressed garlic for the flavour and continue steaming for another 5-7 minutes with the lid closed.
  5. In the meantime, also be careful not to let the white cabbage become too soft in the broth. If it does, put the pot down briefly until the vegetables are ready. Add the steamed vegetables to the stock and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
  6. The last step is to round everything off in taste. Add salt and pepper, also a little sugar at the end if it tastes too sour. Don't forget about the most important ingredient, lots of love at all stages of preparation. Then it will definitely taste great!Serve warm with dark bread, sour cream and parsley or dill.