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212 Views· 22 May 2024

LIFE in the Mountains of Ukraine. Cooking traditional borscht

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Daniel Chyi
4,940 Subscribers

Embracing Ukrainian Mountain Life

Experience the serene and picturesque lifestyle of the Ukrainian mountains, where tradition meets nature in the most beautiful ways. One of the most cherished customs in this region is the preparation of borscht, a hearty and flavorful beet soup that warms both the body and soul. Join us as we delve into the daily life in these majestic mountains and learn how to cook traditional Ukrainian borscht.

**The Beauty of Mountain Life**

**Scenic Surroundings**
- The Ukrainian mountains offer breathtaking landscapes, with rolling hills, dense forests, and clear rivers. This pristine environment provides the perfect backdrop for a simple and fulfilling way of life.

**Self-Sufficiency**
- Residents of the mountain villages live a self-sufficient lifestyle, relying on locally sourced produce and livestock. This close connection to nature ensures the freshest ingredients for their meals.

**Community and Tradition**
- Mountain life is deeply rooted in community and tradition. Villagers often gather to share meals and celebrate cultural events, preserving their rich heritage through stories, songs, and, of course, food.

**Cooking Traditional Borscht: A Step-by-Step Guide**

**Ingredients: Fresh and Local**
1. **Beets (3-4 medium-sized)**
2. **Potatoes (2-3)**
3. **Carrots (2)**
4. **Onions (2)**
5. **Cabbage (1/2 head)**
6. **Garlic (3-4 cloves)**
7. **Tomatoes (2-3 or tomato paste)**
8. **Beef or Pork (optional, 500g)**
9. **Bay Leaves (2-3)**
10. **Salt and Pepper (to taste)**
11. **Fresh Dill and Parsley (for garnish)**
12. **Sour Cream (for serving)**

**Step 1: Preparing the Ingredients**
- **Peel and Grate the Beets:** Start by peeling and grating the beets. This is the key ingredient that gives borscht its distinctive color and earthy flavor.
- **Chop the Vegetables:** Dice the potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. Mince the garlic finely.
- **Prepare the Meat (if using):** Cut the beef or pork into bite-sized pieces. This is optional but adds a rich, hearty element to the soup.

**Step 2: Cooking the Base**
- **Sauté the Onions and Carrots:** In a large pot, heat some oil and sauté the onions and carrots until they are soft and fragrant.
- **Add the Beets:** Add the grated beets to the pot and cook for a few minutes, allowing them to release their vibrant color.

**Step 3: Building the Flavor**
- **Add the Meat:** If using, add the meat to the pot and cook until browned on all sides.
- **Incorporate the Tomatoes:** Add chopped tomatoes or tomato paste. This adds a tangy depth to the borscht.
- **Pour in Water:** Add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

**Step 4: Simmering to Perfection**
- **Add Potatoes and Cabbage:** Once the soup is simmering, add the diced potatoes and chopped cabbage. These vegetables add body and texture to the borscht.
- **Season with Bay Leaves, Salt, and Pepper:** Add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer for about 30-40 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

**Step 5: Final Touches**
- **Add Garlic and Fresh Herbs:** Just before serving, stir in the minced garlic and freshly chopped dill and parsley. This adds a burst of fresh flavor.
- **Serve with Sour Cream:** Ladle the hot borscht into bowls and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream. This creamy addition balances the earthy flavors of the soup.

**Conclusion: A Taste of Ukrainian Tradition**

Cooking traditional borscht in the mountains of Ukraine is more than just preparing a meal; it’s an immersion into a way of life that values community, tradition, and a deep connection to nature. Whether enjoyed in a rustic mountain home or in the comfort of your own kitchen, this hearty beet soup brings a taste of Ukrainian heritage to your table. Enjoy the rich flavors and the warm, comforting experience of traditional borscht.

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