All the way from Novokuybyshevsk, a small town outside of Samara Russia comes this authentic, curing and delicious borscht recipe.
Authentic Russian Borscht
A generational family ritual; this antioxidant-rich hearty stew of beetroot goodness has been used to fight disease, restore gut health and aid liver health. My friend Aliya shared her family recipe with me casually one day over dinner, talking me through every detail. Those days with her grandma sitting on the kitchen counter in her family’s’ Novokuybyshevsk home, peeling potatoes is forever etched in her brain and heart and I am very thankful for Aliya for sharing this with me. I'll be producing this every winter for the rest of my life.
Despite being a staple of Russian and Polish culture, borscht actually originated in the Ukraine. Recipe history aside, all of these Eastern European countries recognise borscht's capacity to produce positive effects on the digestive system primarily because the vegetables, particularly the beetroot, are rich in antioxidants, B vitamins and vitamin C. The benefits of eating borscht include (not to mention the added benefits of using homemade bone broth in your recipe):
1. Reduce high blood pressure
Eating borscht may help people who have high blood pressure. A study published in 2013 in the American Heart Association's journal "Hypertension" found people with high blood pressure experienced a blood pressure drop of 10 mm Hg after drinking 8 ounces of beetroot juice. The benefits began just three hours after drinking beetroot juice and were still present 24 hours later. Beetroot juice also contains dietary nitrate, a compound that can help improve blood flow and relax blood vessels.
2. Helps to rid gallstones
Beetroots in the diet on a regular basis are perhaps the best way to promote the movement of gallstones toward the bile ducts and out of the liver. Even after you perform a liver/gallbladder flush, eating beets can be instrumental in mobilizing gallstones from the three corners of the liver so that they may appropriately exit this vital organ. As a root vegetable, beets are also known to increase the regularity of bowel movements that also allows the passed gallstones to exit the GI tract.
3. Detoxifies Liver
What is it that makes beets such a powerful liver detoxifier?
“Beets and beet tops are the richest source of betaine, a natural liver detoxifier and bile thinner.” By thinning the bile, the flow is facilitated which serves to greatly relieve low-grade constipation, which plagues much of sedentary Western society.
4. Protects the Liver
A 2007 study on rats from the Semmelweis University Department of Medicine in Budapest, Hungary, found eating beets might protect the liver. This is due to beets' high content of specific protective compounds. One of these compounds is betaine, which protects the liver and reduces the body's level of homocysteine, a harmful substance that can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Betaine also increases stomach acid levels, potentially helping people with deficient stomach acid production.
So now that you know the many benefits that borscht soup has for you, all you have to do is make it. I like to make a big batch of it and freeze it, having it on hand when I begin to feel the nasties taking over.
Makes 7-8 liters (roughly 12 servings which you'll get through faster than you think)
- 12 medium beets, shredded
- 1 small head of cabbage, shredded - do not use the core
- 6-8 unpeeled carrots, grated
- 2 large brown onions, chopped
- 4 potatoes, cubed
- 1 whole 8-oz can tomato paste
- Optional: 1 kilo of diced grassed fed beef (or left over beef from your homemade bone broth)
- 4 cloves of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
- Organic beef base stock, or an equivalent
- Additional water or stock, as needed
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 4 medium sized tomatoes (optional, for thicker soup consistency. I like to have these on hand to adjust my soup accordingly. The consistency should be a medium weight – not too thin)
- Sour Cream
- Boil 12 beets for 2 hours. Peel cut bottoms off and refrigerate. Shred.
- Shred 8 carrots.
- Diced 2 onions.
- Sauté onions and carrots with olive oil in dutch oven until the onions become translucent and the carrots turn brown.
- Add 1 small can of tomato paste to onion and carrot mixture and simmer until the paste melts and is consistent throughout.
- Bring 7-8 liters of beef broth to a boil.
- Cube potatoes (I like to cube mine all different sizes).
- Shred green cabbage.
- Add potatoes and cabbage to stock. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add 3/4 amounts of the shredded beets and your carrot onion concoction into soup.
- Simmer for 40 minutes with lid partially off.
(Use this time to get your soup to the right consistency:
If your soup appears too thick at this point, feel free to add more water or extra stock until the consistency is right. If you want to thicken your soup add 3-4 chopped tomatoes to a separate pan on medium heat with 1 clove of garlic and cook until it resembles gravy. If using homemade stock, add beef base (do not add extra salt until you are done adding beef base as it tends to be very salty on its own).
- Pan-fry your extra meat at this time if you have it with a tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure it is seared on the outside but a bit raw on the inside.
- Stir in the remaining beets, cubed meat, minced garlic, pepper, and more salt if needed. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beets are no longer dark-red and the garlic has mellowed out.
- Check that meat has cooked.
- Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
- Add your sour cream at this time.
Enjoy the most delicious liver cleansing soup you'll have in your life. Let the remainder cool and store in 1 liter containers in your freezer. Defrost after a social Saturday night or any time you're feeling run down in Winter.