Honoring the people fighting for freedom in Ukraine through food
The reason I started the Comfort Food Convo was to share the stories behind people's favorite foods and emphasize how food can bring us together, even in the hardest of times. Like so many people, I have been horrified by what is happening in Ukraine. The brutal tactics being taken by an egomaniac against the people of a free and sovereign nation is heartbreaking. I have a few friends who were either born in Ukraine or have family still there and I wanted to find my own way to support them right now, so I went with the power of food. I wanted to highlight Ukraine's national dish -borscht - and luckily my friend Miro's mom, Natalia, agreed to share her recipe. A big thank you to her and to Miro who helped me make the recipe for the blog. Let's get cooking!
Natalia's Veggie Borscht
8oz soaked large white dry beans (soak overnight)
1 large potato cut into small cubes
3 small beets peeled and julienned into quarter inch wide strips
1 large onion (white or yellow), diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 small head of cabbage, sliced
1 can (14oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 packet onion soup mix. This is what Natalia prefers, but you can use broth or a water/bouillon combination
Oil for cooking. Sunflower oil is the most authentic, but any oil will work
Chopped dill (my favorite!)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Sour cream or crème fraiche (crème fraiche is the closest to smetana, which is what they use in Ukraine)
Start by sautéing onions for 3-5 minutes until they become translucent. Next, add the beets and carrots and sauté on low until the juices start seeping out. If you are using broth instead of the soup mix, feel free to salt the beets and carrots. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Now add in the balsamic vinegar to help preserve the color.
In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil along with the beans, potatoes and soup mix. If you are using broth, Natalia says to use an equal amount of broth to water. She says how much water/broth you use depends on how thick you like your soup.
When the water/broth is on a low boil, add the cabbage and cook until softened. Add the beet mixture to the pot. Mix everything together and let it boil for an additional 15-20 minutes on low.
Turn off the heat and add in 3-4 cloves of minced garlic and stir. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then serve with fresh dill and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche. An option from Natalia is to add fresh garlic when ready to serve since that's how many folks like it in Ukraine. Enjoy!
Step-by-Step Photo Guide
Sauté onions for 3-5 minutes.
Add the beets and carrots to the onions and sauté. Then add the tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes and then add the balsamic vinegar.
In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil along with the beans and potatoes and the soup mix.
Add cabbage to beans and potatoes and cook until softened.
Add beet mixture to cabbage, beans and potatoes and boil for 15-20 minutes on low.
Turn off the heat and add in 3-4 cloves of minced garlic and stir. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then serve with fresh dill and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche. Enjoy!