Dishing up: Eurovision Borscht

Simply the Borscht for the 2017 Song Contest…

It’s May 2017, and Eurovision has landed in Kiev, Ukraine. What else could I do but rustle up a traditional dish from the host country. It’s sour, it’s purple, it’s the Borscht.

It’s a tradition properly kicked off last year, in a mass of undercooked Swedish meatballs and rollmop. Ah rollmop. Sadly, that smorgasbord of Eurovision plenty was only documented in this delicious Twitter story. Do get stuck in:

Jump forward to 2017:


Borscht (pronounced bɔːrʃ, bɔːrʃt – if that’s your kind of thing). Developed from ancient pickled soups of Eastern Europe, borscht is most commonly associated with Ukraine in its gloriously vibrant beet-based form. Leaves, more vegetables than an average London allotment can shake at me, and hidden meat.

What’s not to like?

I fused my usual ‘cauldron cooking’ style to this simple recipe:.

1tbsp vegetable oil lining a morass of root vegetables: 1lb of beetroot, a large carrot, a large potato, all diced. A finely chopped onion, and two garlic cloves (of course, in practice, doubled). The stick of celery ignored, the mass sautéed for two minutes before being drowned in strong beef stock. At this point, flavouring with flaked sea salt and black salt when slightly awry when the top flew off the pepper and deposited a jar’s worth in the simmering broth. The punch remained.

After 15 minutes, half a green cabbage not as finely shredded as it should have been, and poorly peeled red tomatoes added to the mix. Next time, will definitely pursue the canned version. Left to simmer for another 20 minutes. Sirloin steak was pan fried until rare and chopped into narrow slices after sitting for five minutes. In-between posing on a plate of their own, the steak slices were doused in the borscht, with soured cream and sprigs of fresh dill.  Accompanied by a fine shiraz. Borscht. Done.

Now it’s off to Portugal for 2018 and, inevitably, some Vinho Verde…

Borscht 303


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