I Cooked Topchii Ukrainian Borscht

…and it is real good.
Many thanks to Eric for posting the step-by-step Topchii Ukrainian Borscht recipe as taught to him by Nataliya Topchii. I made these pictures to put with the recipe, so I’ll remember which pot I used, how much was made, and so on. They turned out so well, I thought I’d share.

Of course all of the ingredients and methods are included in Eric’s posting of Nataliya cooking. I suggest you revisit that and make the soup. It’s easier than pie, and tastes so good. When I do it again, I will probably use an extra beet and a little more cabbage. Otherwise the proportions of things are just right.


My ingredients. Starting at the bottom left, that’s a purple bell pepper. Green peppers aren’t in season and the pepper guy at the Market said the purple or white is closest in taste to the green. An onion, apple, three red skinned potatoes, two beets, a tiny head of cabbage, some baby carrots equal to two regular carrots, a bunch of cilantro and a wrapped beef shin.


So here’s the unwrapped beef shin. The butcher at Golden Gate Meat called it Osso Buco. I thought osso buco referred to veal shank, but I looked it up and its Italian translation is, “bone with a hole.” Anyway, this one is 1 1/2 pounds; look at that nice core of marrow that’s going to melt into the soup. I trimmed off five ounces of hard fat and tissue.


The meat in the pot. It doesn’t look like very much, but it turned out to be just the right amount.


I chose the right size pot for the meat and vegetables.

b6_potato_chunk b7_potatoes_mashed

I chose to include the Mikola Option: remove three big potato chunks from the pot and put them in a small dish with a spoonful of broth. Mash into a paste and add back to the broth for “extra flavor.” It took me one hour and 30 minutes to here, working alone. When I added the optional tomatoes, I seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, two pinches of my salt/pepper mix and several grinds of pepper.


Here I am serving the Borscht. Lovely.


The Topchii Ukrainian Borscht was served with crudités, toasts and my newly discovered house red wine from Kermit Lynch: Coteaux du Languedoc, St Martin de la Garrigue, Cuvee Tradition 2008.


b10_left_overLeftovers… we’ll be eating borscht for a while. That’s a good thing. Those are two-cup containers.

3 thoughts on “I Cooked Topchii Ukrainian Borscht

  1. Cabbage soup is now a hot topic on the NYTimes web site. Have you ever done an Eats article on Jack Nicklaus’s cabbage soup? Do you still make it?


  2. We went to Russia on a riverboat cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg several years ago. The food served onboard was modest and substantial. One of our biggest disappointments was we were never served borscht. This looks very good.


  3. Eric —
    I haven’t made the Jack Nicklaus soup for years, but it was published in the eats iv installment of the original eats4one.
    Actual title: Barbara Nicklaus Fat Burning Cabbage Soup… For Jack
    I gleaned the recipe from Sports Illustrated April 1996.
    It was part of a cabbage soup diet where one would eat the soup every day for a week along with fruit and vegetables. Beef was allowed on Friday and Saturday. It’s actually good soup and I did the diet once or twice, but eating the same soup every day is a chore – even when it’s good. Patricia Unterman wrote a “cleaned up” version in the SF Chronicle.
    Now that you’ve got me started, maybe I’ll make some soup and do an eats treatment.


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