Ukraine: Borscht 🇺🇦 

Ukraine flag

Summer isn’t exactly prime borscht season.

As it turns out, though, I made my borscht six months ago.

The winter of 2017 was a harsh one. Day after day, snow covered Portland. After two incredibly mild winters, all of my Zone 8 plants died off. The decade-plus prickly pear in my front yard slumped and shivered. Work was cancelled. Everything was cancelled.

Except, of course, warm soup. Warm soup is eternal on snowy winter days.

Fortunately, I had already purchased a cookbook in preparation for making borscht. Mamushka: Recipes From Ukraine & Beyond was sitting on my shelf, waiting for the perfect day.

Cactus and snow

The perfect day for borscht. Sad cactus in the snow.

I had no idea what to expect from borscht. I love beet chips, I’m fine with pickled beets, but what would beet soup, rich with the savory flavor of buffalo, taste like?

Shredded beets

Mm. Delicious shredded beets.

Unique and wonderful.

Luckily, the recipe from Hercules’ cookbook was simple and solid – easy-to-acquire ingredients, easy to make, and it smelled delicious.

Because I was home in the snow, I decided to add on a side – pampushki, another recipe I came across in Hercules’ cookbook. These yeasted rolls look like dough-globs in a cast iron skillet, but cook up perfectly in the oven while the borscht simmers.

Add on a shot of vodka and you’ve got the perfect salve for a winter day – you know, once winter comes.



They didn’t turn out perfectly, but they turned out pretty well.

I’m not going to list the recipes on this page, because, well, they’re not mine and I can’t link to the author. I can, however, link to the author’s cookbook, and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

Mamushka Recipes from Ukraine & Beyond
by Olia Hercules Hardcover
Borscht, pampushki, and vodka.

Borscht, pampushki, and vodka.

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