My Mom’s Mennonite Borscht – the best!

I absolutely love my mom’s borscht, and yet I have never tried to make it. (Update – oops, this isn’t actually her recipe! This one is good too, but here’s the link to the real deal.) There’s something special about having her make it, and then give me some in a jar to take home.  But I thought I should figure out how to make it, because one day, in a long long time, she’s not going to be making it any more.  Her recipe is from the old “Mennonite Treasury of Recipes,” in which the Mennonite ladies from across Canada contributed recipes.  The first printing was in 1961, and reprinted every year after. Until at least 1975 when mine was printed.  I had it handed down to me by a great-aunt.  The original recipe is called “Cabbage Borscht,” and it includes potatoes, which I left out.  I wanted to freeze some, and I don’t think potatoes freeze well.  I also prefer the taste  it without them. I also use yogurt for putting on top, rather than the cream the recipe calls for.  I added, like my mom, dill.

This borscht has no beets in it! I know, you might think this isn’t even borscht, but trust me, it’s the best kind.  I prefer it with beef, but you can use chicken if you want.  A combination of both is good, too.  I made the broth a day ahead so I could skim the fat off once it cooled, so you’ll want to factor the extra day into it.

What you need:

2 pounds beef bones with some meat on them

8 cups water

2 carrots, sliced into rounds

1/2 head green cabbage

1 medium onion, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 star anise

3 allspice, whole

1 bay leaf

1 & 1/2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh or frozen dill (not dried! ew, it hardly tastes like dill!)

dash of pepper

1 -1&1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

plain yogurt

What you do:

1. Boil the bones in water for at least 1 & 1/2 hours. Add more water as it boils away. Remove the bones and meat, keeping the meat to add to the soup later.  Let the stock cool, then remove the fat from the top.

2. Bring the beef stock to a boil, then add the veggies and spices – everything except the salt, pepper, tomatoes and yogurt.  Cook until the veggies are tender.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon some yogurt on top to serve.

My mom (the little one being held) with her cousins in Paraguay. My grandparents moved there from Russia, and then to Canada.

3 thoughts on “My Mom’s Mennonite Borscht – the best!

  1. Sounds alot like the Borscht I was raised with. Both sets of my grandparents came from Russia. The only difference with the recipe is my grandmother did not use anise or allspice, and it included peas and Lima beans, as well as the potatoes. And a dollup of sour cream can’t be beat.

    1. My mom sometimes put potatoes in hers, but the peas and lima beans are new new to me! I’m all for new things! I added an update to the recipe showing a link to my mom’s real recipe.

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