Borscht and all the Trimmings

Marusa is a student who has recently been making more of an effort to be a regular attendee of our Sunday morning worship.  I think she enjoys the small group feel (this last Sunday we had six people) and it gives her a chance to ask some great questions.  She is not taking this faith as it is given.  She instead is trying to figure it out for herself.  David and I both appreciate students who don’t have to be spoon fed, and who challenge us in order to make sure they are understanding exactly what they are getting into.

Marusa’s mother is named Anna and she is a great lady.  She is one of those older generation Ukrainians who doesn’t really understand what it is to learn another language (even though she speaks three).  When David and I don’t understand  she speaks quicker and louder in hopes of us understanding.  Marusa has explained repeatedly to her mother that we don’t understand.  Anna continues to tell her daughter that we must.


Shannon receiving for first borscht lesson

Shannon receiving for first borscht lesson




David practicing his Ukrainian

David practicing his Ukrainian


Anna came over on Sunday and cooked us our first batch of homemade borscht.  I thought it was quite good.  David’s verdict is still out. Our borscht took about an hour and a half to prepare and then cook.  It was all from scratch of course, and it wouldn’t have been complete unless we sat and had a cup of hot tea while it simmered. 


The onions, carrots, garlic and beets

The onions, carrots, garlic and beets




Beets are the base of 'red' borscht.  I hope you can see the red.

Beets are the base of 'red' borscht. I hope you can see the red.











I feel as though borscht, as a concept, can be compared to enchiladas in Texas.  Everyone thinks theirs is the best, everyone has a different recipe and no one is exactly sure where they originated (but everyone has an opinion).  Ukrainians have pride in more than just their food and David loves to make a comparison to Texas Pride.  I’m not exactly sure what he might be referencing.  (I hope everyone is getting ready for Texas’ Independence Day.)


Marta, Marusa and Max having tea while waiting

Marta, Marusa and Max having tea while waiting


The finished product

The finished product













Max, another student, who is contemplating a monastic life (becoming a monk) joined us for lunch.  He is a very interesting young man who has spent 10 years in the states, including a short stint of sketchy employment with an Eastern European organization in Chicago.  And Marta, who missed church, offered to bring bread and chocolate to make up for it and round out our meal.  


Enjoying our company and the borscht

Enjoying our company and the borscht




















                                       Red Borscht

3 medium beets                                       1 chicken leg

2 medium carrots                                   1 T salt

1 onion                                                      2 cups sour cream (about)

2 cloves garlic                                          pepper

1 chicken leg                                            vegetable oil

Wash beets, boil beets until cooked.  Peel carrots, grate carrots, peel onion, chop onion.  Put a T oil in skillet, cook carrots and onions together, mince or chop garlic and throw it in.  Boil a lot of water with a chicken leg in it.  Grate the beets in with the carrots and onions (after you peel the skins off, of course).  Add salt to chicken water and then throw in the vegetables, once the water begins to boil.  Anna then put in two boillon cubes (I believe on a whim) and then she mix about three T of the broth with the sourcream before she dumped all the cream into the pot.  Finally she started shaking in the pepper until she liked the taste.  Then the simmering began, about 10 minutes.  Let me know if anyone tries to make this – I would love to hear how it goes. 


5 thoughts on “Borscht and all the Trimmings

  1. You will never believe this but we were just talking about how much Ken would like to have borscht and the fact that I don’t have a recipe! I will try this soon and let you know if we like it! I don’t know about getting the fresh beets are around here right now….maybe canned will do?? I also notice there is some nice bread on the table. I’ll have to make sure we have some good (bread machine!) bread to accompany the soup, right?! 🙂

    • Yes…..make Ken some borscht and canned beets will work just fine. We also liked added some canned beans, like kidney beans, to the soup as well. If you make some of the delicious pre-hunting bread, I also would like a peace… :).

  2. I didn’t know what to expect with the taste of the soup and maybe if you ate what I made, you might not think it was the same thing you ate there in the Ukraine, but it was good! Ken thought it was good (and he thought it was even better with some extra sour cream on top after it was cooked!!). I wasn’t sure what to do with the chicken but I chopped up the meat and threw it in, too…..I don’t think it sounds quite right to add beans, but if you like it, okay! Hey David, Ken wanted to send you an email and tell you something about Jordan Swanson. Is your gmail account the best way for him to contact you directly? This is nice to be able to just write a little something and be in touch with you guys! The wonders of modern technology! 🙂 (for those who read these comments who don’t know me, they will realize that I am old!)

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