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Ukrainian beetroot borshch – Olia Hercules, Mamushka

Serves 4


1. Borshch 
200g beetroot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tbs sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly grated
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
1 tbs tomato purée
1 beef tomato (skin discarded), roughly grated, or 100g fermented tomatoes 
½ small white cabbage, shredded
400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

2. Stock 
500g oxtail or fatty beef short ribs
1 onion, peeled but kept whole
1 bay leaf
2.5 litres (4 pints) cold water

3. To serve 
100ml (3½ fl oz) soured cream
½ bunch of dill, chopped
Pampushky (Ukrainian garlic bread, optional)


1. Stock
In a large saucepan, place the meat, whole onion, bay leaf and measurement water. Season the water lightly and cook over a low heat for 1 hour. Skim off the scum with a spoon from time to time.

2. Borshch 
Add the beetroot and potatoes to the stock, season well with salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook over a medium heat, stirring, for about 5–7 minutes until the carrot is meltingly soft and is about to start caramelising. This is a distinctively Ukrainian soffritto technique called smazhennya or zazharka.
Add the red pepper and tomato purée to the onion and carrot and cook it out for 2 minutes, then add the grated fresh tomato or fermented tomatoes, stir and reduce slightly before adding all of this to the broth.
Finally, add the shredded cabbage and beans to the broth and cook for about 7 minutes until cooked through.

3. Service 
Serve with a dollop of soured cream, chopped dill and Pampushky.

Recipe from ‘Mamushka’ by Olia Hercules(£25,Octopus Books)