Monica Chung’s Ukrainian Borscht

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This post comes to us courtesy of Chi Dixon, blogger at Chi’s Food.


Ukrainian Borscht


There are three separate parts to this recipe: the pork, the beet juice and the veggies. When these components are ready, they join forces and BAM! You will have borscht that tastes like you have a Ukrainian grandmother. And if you already have a Ukrainian grandma, this will put you in her will.


For the pork goodness:

  • 3 pounds pork spare ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 32 ounces good quality beef broth
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf


For the beet concentrate:

  • 2 large beets or 3 small, scrubbed, cut into large cubes, skin on
  • 3 1/2 cups water


For the vegetables:

  • 3 medium carrots
  • 4 sticks celery
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 medium head green cabbage
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 large beets, skinned, quartered and sliced


Additional ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Sour cream
  • Dill


Cut pork into 2 or 3 rib pieces, pat dry, generously rub with salt and pepper. Heat a large stock pot and drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Give the ribs a nice sear. Throw in remaining pork ingredients, but keep about 1/5 of the beef stock to the side. Add 1 1/2 cups water. Cover, bring to boil, and then keep that fire low!


In a medium pot, make the beet juice by boiling the beets with 1 tablespoon salt. Boil while you prepare veggies.


Julienne carrots and celery, but a little thicker — about the width of 2 matchsticks so they are not SO skinny. Throw them in a saucepan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice cabbage finely and add to pan with minced garlic. When they start to soften, add the rest of the beef stock you reserved. Cook on medium heat, uncovered.


Drain beets for the concentrate and reserve the juice only. Discard the beets!


Remove the ribs and let cool on a plate so you can handle them. Strain broth and pour broth back into stock pot. (Don’t worry, skimming the broth comes later.) Add beet juice and veggies into pot. Hold ribs vertically and run a sharp knife down to get the meat. Discard bones and add meat into the pot – it will not be very much meat, but that is not the point of this soup. It should not be a MEAT soup but rather a beet soup with a hearty broth.


Add in those sliced beets and 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a happy simmer. Dash in 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Leave it alone! After an hour, you should see a clear oily layer on top, which you can skim. If you do not see this layer, it is not ready! Taste and add more salt if necessary. Same with the vinegar. After you skim the top, let it simmer again for at least 30 mins.


Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with dill. Serves 6 to 8. Prep time: 35 mins. Cooking time: 2 hours minimum.


About the author: Chi didn’t realize she could cook until she was well into her 20’s – then she discovered that it was one of the things she liked doing the most! As a top 100 contestant on MasterChef season 2, Chi discovered her hobby was more of a passion and has been exploring this passion since. Her objective is to de-mystify cooking and make it approachable and fun for anyone with the desire to set foot in the kitchen.

3 comments about “Monica Chung’s Ukrainian Borscht

  1. An Autumn Potluck with the Pros

  2. Ronnie Rosenberg

    This recipe sounds delicious – and even though my husband detests beets, I think i will make it anyway!! Thanks Monica. — Ronnie

  3. Broken heart

    This woman broke up my family. Selfish and Only thought of herself. Not a nice person


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