German Shepherd female Nemka

If there is just one thing you should know about Ukraine, it is Borsch. This is a traditional Ukrainian soup, brilliant ruby red in color. When I ventured into preparing it for my guests here in the States, everyone loved it (or at least that's what they said), so I think it's only fair that I share an old favorite recipe. Serves 6.

Ingredients:

4 quarts water
1 lb shank meat (beef), bone in
2 medium beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Amur my guardian angel 1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot
1/2 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream, for topping
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish

6 slices of bread, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, whole

Method:

Start by preparing beef broth. It is quite easy: rinse the beef (whole piece) in cold water, place it in a 6 qt pot, cover with 3.5 quarts water, bring to boil. As it starts boiling, skim the surface and remove the foam that is forming there, until the water boils clear. Cover and boil on low heat for about 1 hour. When it's done, pull the meat out and let it cool. Cut the meat off the bone and into bite-size cubes bite-size cubes. While the broth is going, rinse the beats really well in cold water, place them in a small pot, add water so that they are completely covered, and boil on low for about 30 minutes.

Heat up a large pan, add the olive oil and make sure it is well heated. Add the chopped onion and simmer until slightly golden and sheer, for about 3-5 minutes. Ad grated carrot, cook for another 2 minutes, and add shredded cabbage. Cook it for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then, then add tomato paste (dilute it with 1/2 water for easier steering in prior to adding it). After about extra 5 minutes, set aside.
Peal and grate the beats. Cube potatoes into bite-size pieces (or larger, but uniform), add them to the broth, and boil for about 20 minutes on medium heat. Then add grated beets, roasted onion/carrot/cabbage mix, minced garlic, vinegar, salt and fresh ground black pepper, bay leaf, and bring to boil. Let is boil for 5 minutes, remove borsch from the stove and let it sit covered for about 15 minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 1 table spoon of parsley or parsley and dill, and a slice of lightly toasted bread that was rubbed with fresh garlic. For a vegetarian version, instead of preparing the beef broth, use vegetable broth, or simply water - it will be just as delicious! Enjoy!

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