Mennonite Cabbage Borscht

Mennonite cabbage borscht - trust in kim

A little while ago I posted a recipe for my Mom’s borscht.  While this is a great soup recipe, I recently found out it’s not actually her recipe.  Oops!  So this is really my mom’s borscht recipe; it’s on the same page of  The Mennonite Treasury of Recipes, the bible of Mennonite cooking.  The real difference is that this one has a can of tomato soup; not very old-world traditional, but it’s the yummy soup I grew up with.  A lot of people think borscht has beets, but the beetless version is part of the Mennonite culinary tradition.

My mom makes a few changes when she cooks it: she doesn’t always use potatoes, and she usually adds some carrots. As well, she doesn’t use cream, but adds yogurt while serving.

It is best to make the broth a day ahead of time so it can cool, and the fat can be removed.

What you need:

2 lbs of beef meat and bones (or a combination of beef and chicken)

1 large onion, chopped

1 small head cabbage

3 carrots, chopped

a few tablespoons of fresh dill

1 can tomato soup (I used Campbell’s)

salt to taste

plain yogurt for serving

What you do:

1. To make the broth, cover the bones and meat with cold water and bring to a low simmer.  Simmer for 2 to 3 hours.  Strain the broth and let it cool.   Remove the meat and pull it into bite-sized pieces.  Put the meat and broth in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

2. Remove the cold fat from the top of the broth and discard it.  Pour the broth into a large pot and bring it to a low boil.

3. Add the chopped onions, meat, cabbage, carrots and dill and let it summer until the vegetables are tender.

4. Add the tomato soup and let it heat, then add salt to taste.

5. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

This soup freezes well, and makes a big batch for leftovers or for sharing.

Mennonite Treasury of Recipes -Trust in Kim

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.