There is a widely accepted fact that every Russian housewife has to be able to fry meat cutlets, bake pies and cook borscht. This one of the most well-known soups in Russian cuisine is popular not only in southern parts of Russia but also in neighboring countries. Borscht is believed to have originated in Ukraine, although Polish, Lithuanian and Moldovan have ancient recipes of soups very similar to it.
In the past the broth cooked from cow parsnip (borschevik in Russian) was called borscht. Polish still have a recipe of borscht made on the basis of beet kvass. This rich and hearty drink serves as a zesty addition to the soup.
Borscht can be hot, or, as it is more familiar to call it, red. It is a traditional version of the soup with meat broth. There is a cold variant of the soup which is just as popular as a summer soup Okroshka, and it is served with boiled potatoes. Besides, we have recently posted about green shchi or green borscht which is a very light and refreshing spring summer dish.
As a hot soup borscht can include various ingredients such as red beans, bell peppers. Some prefer cooking borscht only with beef bone broth, some choose meatless or mushroom broth with a lot of spices or beet leaves. This choice is up to you.
Usually borscht is served with sour cream and finely chopped garlic on side. You can also rub a crusty piece of rye bread with a little garlic. In Ukraine they serve the soup with garlic knots and thinly sliced pork fat salo. Fresh greens also add freshness to the taste of the dish.