A Borscht Like Nana’s

My Nana (paternal grandmother) was born in Kiev, Russia in 1894. In the 1960’s Nana and Papa lived a few miles from our house in Chicago. I remember coming home from school in the winter to kitchen windows that were all steamed up. Nana was at our house and she was making soup! I vividly remember Nana’s borscht. It tasted sweet, and sour, and it had lots of meat, short ribs to be exact.
Cookbook author Barbara Kafka has a recipe in her fabulous book, SOUP: A Way of Life, that reminds me of that borscht. She says she made it for her father who was from Slutzk, a shtetl (small town with a large Jewish population) near Minsk. Barbara’s Red Russian Soup tastes quite similar to how I remember my Nana’s soup.
My mother sometimes took notes while watching her mother-in-law cook, and that is how we were able recreate her delicious Meat Soup. Unfortunately, we have no recipe of my Nana’s borscht so I am grateful to Barbara for her excellent recipe and the inspiration for me to make A Borscht Like Nana’s.
To make this wonderful soup, you can follow the directions in my previous post, BEET SOUP WITH TRUFFLE OIL (link at the bottom of this post) but do not purée. Additionally, simmer 3 lbs. beef short ribs in water until butter tender, 2+ hours. Trim the fat and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Add the de-fatted meat broth and meat to the beet soup. Simmer. Serve over a cubed boiled potato. Top the meaty borscht with a dollop of sour cream (if OK to serve milk with meat).

14 thoughts on “A Borscht Like Nana’s”

  1. That was my Nana’s borscht too. Did everyone come from a shtetl outside of Kiev? My Nana (really Bubbie) made hers for us in NYC. Did your Nana really put a dollop of sour cream into her meaty borscht?
    Recipe for borscht in last Weds. food section of the NY Times. Yum…
    Thanks for awakening my taste buds!

  2. Hi Lyn – I don’t remember if my Nana put sour cream on hers, but I remember always having it on mine. She may have kept kosher earlier in her life, but we did not keep kosher when I was growing up.
    Thanks for commenting!
    Kiev – Maybe we’re related?
    Hey, I have to look up that NY Times recipe.
    Thanks again.

    Lori Lynn

  3. As usual, you set a beautiful table. Thanks for joining us on the tour and sharing your story about your Nana. I’m sure she would be proud of the borscht you served.

  4. That's on good looking borscht Korin. Brings to my mind memories of my trips to Russia ages ago, & my Ukrainian friend Uliana, & another who is currently in Kiev. Your Nana's soup is gorgeous!

  5. Thanks Everyone! It was neat to recreate my Nana’s soup.

    Blossom – the dinnerware line is called “The Cellar” made in China for Macy’s. I got it about 8 years ago, and can no longer find it. If you see it somewhere, please let me know, I could use some more pieces. Good luck.

    Lori Lynn

  6. If it is for soups I would go for butter. However, truffle oil is also a great alternative. Those who love the peppery smell of truffle oil can also use truffle oil in soups.thank you for shearing your post.

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