Non-Traditional Borscht – The Way My Family Makes It

It’s fair to say that most of us are a little bummed out that the summer has come to an inglorious end. It’s getting cool, the rain comes more frequently, and we have less sunlight each day.

At this time of year one of my favourite things to do it make delicious, nourishing soups. And one of my most beloved soup recipes is somewhat of a non-traditional Borscht. My Grandmother, who was born in Russia, passed this recipe down to my mom, whom I’ve received it from in turn.

Of course it has cabbage and beets, which add a wonderful sweetness to the broth, not to mention tons of nutritional value. But it also is made with two ingredients that aren’t always included in Borscht. It has beef, which adds incredible depth and richness, as well as barley, which adds a nice texture and makes it more filling.

Here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

  1. Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer.
  2.  Add 2lbs of cut-up beef shank to the boiling water. Add the bones to the stock for flavour, but remove just before eating. Grass fed beef tends to have the best flavour.
  3. Add 1 onion (roughly diced) and 3 medium beets (peeled and chopped into bite size pieces).
  4. Simmer until the meat and beets are tender – approx. 45min.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of pearl barley and 1/2 of a medium head of cabbage (shredded finely).
  6. Simmer until barley is cooked – approx. 30mins.
  7. Remove any bones from the soup.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Peter Roberts is a sought after nutrition consultant and strength and conditioning coach in Toronto. He’s been the head coach at Quantum CrossFit since 2010 (East York’s most highly rated gym) and consulted with Canada Basketball and Rugby League Canada, among others. He provides free fitness and nutrition resources on his site peterrobertscoaching.com to teach people how to get fitter and feel great without it being a struggle.

Photo Credit by Monika Grabkowska Unsplash