Give Me My Babushka’s Cooking

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For Foodie Friday I’m posting this paragraph my daughter wrote about her Babushka’s cooking and a recipe and how to make my mom’s Borsch following it.

  • Gimme my Babushka’s cooking and I’ll be content

  • The sort of Russian/Persian cuisine that my Baba (Grandma) makes… I would be a happy camper for a year with yummy borscht, galupsi, kulyich, syrny paska, lapsha, varenky, shashlik, and a million other treats that I would butcher just as badly trying to spell in English…I can say most of them but they’re sure hard to type. Just make sure you give me a good supply of sour cream, and can I bend the rules to include my Mom’s “green borscht” which is spinach soup we chop up hardboiled eggs in? I was never entirely sure where that soup’s origins really lay…I could never get sick of all the lamb and cabbage and butter filled goodness, heck I even like the Russian candies my Deda (Grandpa) keeps around though none of my cousins do. My mouth is watering already. ~ Katie
  • borsch-snoqualmie-001
  • Many Borsch recipes include beets in them. The familiar Borsch that we grew up with and that we had at Molokan Church Meals did not have beets in it. Here is my mother’s recipe.

    Nadia’s Borsch

    For the Stock:
    1 Chuck Roast (with bone would be good)
    1 onion
    1-3 celery stalks with leaves
    2-3 carrots
    2 bay leaves
    5-10 peppercorns
    Salt to taste

    In a big stock pot, cover chuck roast with good water. Bring just to boil. Take roast out of water and discard the water. Put chuck roast back in pot and cover with fresh water again. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook until roast is fork tender. Strain the stock. Reserve the roast.

    1 head of cabbage shredded (green is what we use)
    1-3 carrots grated
    1-2 onions diced
    1 bell pepper diced

    2-3 stalks of celery diced

    (saute the bell pepper, onion, celery and jalapeno then blend before adding to stock)
    2-3 potatoes diced
    2 cans stewed tomatoes blended in blender (we have those that don’t like chunky tomatoes)
    1 can tomato sauce
    1/2-small bunch of dill (to taste)
    1 handful of chopped Italian parsley
    salt and pepper to taste
    optional – 1 can of garbanzo beans
    option #2 – add a small jalapeno diced to the saute group above.

    Put the strained broth back into a stock pot. Add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until cabbage and carrots are tender. Taste and see if the soup needs more salt or pepper at this time.

    The Borsch is ready now.

    My mother doesn’t include this in her recipe but when she made borsch at my house once I saw her add a half a cube of unsalted butter at the end. :) My mother mashes most of the potatoes to thicken up the soup a bit.

    You can bake the chuck roast with a little of the stock, salt, pepper, and sauteed onions to serve alongside the borsch with a good loaf of bread and of course…sour cream. This was my welcome home meal for my kids on one of my trips back to Seattle a couple years ago.

    I hope you enjoyed this post from my archives. I think it is high time I make borsch again and take some new pictures.

25 thoughts on “Give Me My Babushka’s Cooking

  1. Ellen, I had no idea you had Russian heritage. How on earth I missed that I don’t know, but I did. And how fascinating to hear all the Russian dishes and to watch you make this borsch. It looks so good. I just thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I had a teeny tiny bit of Russian ancestry on one line of my dad’s family, but it’s so far back that I can’t tell you when they were in Russia. Thank you for sharing your family’s heritage with us. I’m glad I dropped by to read this.

    Happy Foodie Friday, Ellen!

    XO,

    Sheila 🙂

  2. Hi Ellen,
    I have never had borsch but it looks delicious. I think the best meals are the ones grandma used to make. Now that I am a grandma I better bring back the old recipes. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Maryrose
    PS Love everyone sitting around the table

  3. That looks delicious indeed! And a real hardy meal… I think I will try it this fall. Its too hot here (in the upper 110’s) to even think about soup! But we love it in the fall… I posted my Chicken tortilla soup recipe a while back…
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    ~Really Rainey~

  4. Oh, that borsch looks delicious! I might try it this fall too! Somehow, I was under the impression that borsch was something so exotic that I could never possibly actually make it…but now, I think I can! Thanks, Ellen.

  5. I have never had borsch. This recipe sounds wonderful but I will wait for the temps to cool before I can even think about making this one:)
    joyce

  6. What a rich soup!! You inspire me…but not until the heat spell is over!!
    I haven’t tried this kind of borsch before but I will for sure!! Thanks!
    I think I would love your mother if I met her!!

  7. Hello and thanks for the memories, I too have a russian heritage. Dads parents came over from Russia and Moms parents are Pennsylvania Dutch. GrandMom died before I was born but my Aunts talked about her cooking. Shame that neither Aunt did much cooking.
    It’s so nice to meet you~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  8. That sounds really good, Ellen. I’ve never known a borsht without beets and do love it like that, but I am so going to give this recipe a try too. When it’s a bit cooler around here though. ;v)

  9. borscht without beets….THAT I would try.

    beets and I do NOT get along!

    it’d be fun to try all those other dishes I have no idea how to pronounce too…..

  10. I’m going to have to write all those Russian words down….I could pick out some I’ve had with “your” family, but I can never come up with the spellings when I want to use them! All the Russian dishes I’ve had…I loved, and can definately do the sour cream thing!!!!

  11. Oh boy, this is the ultimate comfort food. My Gramma started her roast in the pressure cooker, so that ‘s what I do, but it is pretty much the same recipe. Jacob likes his with the beans. ~ Robyn

  12. Hi Ellen,
    According to the description given, you cooked “щи” [schi], not not borscht. The most significant difference between these two soups is described in your first paragraph, there is no beet.

    • Sasha, In our Russian culture we call our cabbage soups borsch. We have meat borsch , posnee borsch, and beet borsch. Sometimes a soup that we make with spinach is called Shchi…
      What part of Russia are your people from.

      • I moved to the US from Moscow, but originally I am from mid-Volga region. It is interesting to observe how the same word, depending on the region, changes. I know that in southern Russia and Ukraine they call beet root “buriak,” whereas most people I know call the same vegetable “svekla.” And you surprised me with these soups!

      • My mother and father were born in small villages closer to Rostov on Don between the Black and Caspian Seas. My mother has never made her borsch with beets…always with cabbage and tomato, etc.
        In fact none of my relatives make their borsch with beets. I’ve had and enjoyed Beet borsch at Russian restaurants here in the Seattle area…

      • I guess I have the explanation. I just consulted with two main dictionaries that are normally being used in Russia.
        Ozhegov’s Russian Language Dictionary defines borsch as a soup made with beet root. But there is another big dictionary, the articles were written in the middle of XIX century, and the information from that source seems to be absolutely relevant to the definition of borsch that you have. Might it be the reason? What if in modern Russian culture this word changed its meaning after one and a half centuries, and you are using the word in its original meaning?

        In any way, I’m glad that you clarified that. It seems that the word made some evolution!

      • Sasha, that probably is a very good explanation as my parents are very old culture Russian not modern in any way :0)
        My growing up experience is very peasant in language and culture.

  13. I have the older Russian cookbook with the Posnee style and the church recipes for 150 people. But my page for this was ripped out. I am currently sick and all I want is my Borcht like my Babunya (Tanya Nazaroff of shafter -now passed) made.

    Thank you so much.

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