This is a very traditional Ukrainian borscht recipe for Christmas. It’s a lenten recipe because Ukrainian forefathers were fasting before Christmas, however, using beans and mushrooms in this recipe makes it very heartful and flavorful. Merry Orthodox Christmas!

Soak the beans in cold water for 5-8 hours. Then boil the beans in the same water for 1 ½ hours and strain afterwards.

Wash mushrooms under cold running water. Place them into a small pot, add 2 cups of water and soak for 40 minutes. Cook mushrooms in the same water on low heat for 1 ½ hours. Strain the water, save it, wash mushrooms under running water again and cut into strips.

Cut the onion into small cubes and fry it with butter on the skillet on low heat until the onion becomes translucent.

Cut beets, celery root and parsley root into thin strips.

Boil the water in a pot, add fried onion and beets, celery root, parsley root and peppercorns. Cook everything for 40 minutes.

Cut potatoes into cubes, cut carrots and celery into very thin strips. Add these vegetables into your borscht and cook for 15 minutes. Then add shredded cabbage, bring to a boil, add tomato juice, cooked beans, minced garlic, chopped dill, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes.

In the end, add beet brew (or you can use lemon juice instead), and mushrooms and mushroom broth, bring to a boil and remove from heat.

You will need:

For mushroom broth:

  • Water – 2 cups
  • Dried porcini mushrooms – 2 oz

For borscht:

  • Water – 5 cups
  • Beets – 10 oz
  • Fresh green cabbage – 8 oz
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ parsley root
  • ½ celery root
  • 1 yellow onion
  • ½ dried beans
  • ½ cup tomato juice
  • Butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Beet brew – 1 cup OR
    ¼ lemon
  • Chopped dill – 2 tablespoons
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Salt – to taste

How to make beet brew

Peel and wash your beetroots. Cut ⅕ of beetroot into large pieces, mix with whole beetroot and place into a clean glass or clay dish. Add cold water and leave for two days in a warm place. After the fermentation is over, transfer the brew to the fridge. The brew is ready in 13-15 days. Remove any mildew that might have appeared on top of the brew.

You will need:

  • Beetroot – 2 pounds
  • Water – 8 cups


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