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Potkalitsky's Borscht

Potkalitsky’s Borscht

     Two hours total to prepare, serves six.

Step-1: Bake the beets.

     Cut 5 small, red beets into bite size pieces.

     Place the pieces on a greased cookie sheet.

     Brush with sunflower oil and salt lightly.

     Bake 1-hr until tender: at 350F for 30-min then at 300F for the remaining 30-min.

Step-2: Meanwhile ..

     While beets are baking, prepare the soup.

  I.  Get the sauerkraut ready:

     Rinse the contents of a 32-oz jar of sauerkraut under running water for 2-min.

     In a 5-qt pot, pour 2-Tbsp sunflower oil, and add:

          1 medium yellow onion, diced;

          2 cloves garlic, minced;

          1-tsp fennel seed;

          1-Tbsp dried dill, or more to taste;

          6-oz white wine.

     Simmer this mixture for 2-min, stirring frequently.

     Stir in the drained sauerkraut, and add water to cover.

     Bring to a boil then simmer for 1-hr until the sauerkraut is soft.

  II.  Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot:

     In another 5-qt pot, place 5-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1.25-lb);

     Simmer these thighs in 1/2-cup water until the meat is nearly cooked through.

     While the thighs are simmering, stir in to this pot:

          1 bay leaf;

          Chicken bouillon for 2-cups water;

          1/4-c dried chives;

          20 grinds black pepper;

          1-Tbsp sweet paprika;

          1-Tbsp (a good squirt) tomato paste;

          1-Tbsp dried dill;

          6-oz dark stout beer.

     When the thighs are white, cut them into pieces with a spatula, and add 1.5-qt water.

     Boil on a low boil for 15-min.

     Add 4 russet potatoes, cubed small.

     Drain and add the sauerkraut (from I., above).

     Also add:

          1-cup diced fresh green cabbage;

          1/3-cup chopped, fresh Italian parsley;

          4-tsp white sugar;

          and keep this pot on a rolling simmer until the Onions-and-Garlic-Pot is ready.

  III. The Onions-and-Garlic-Pot, while the Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot is simmering:

     To the now-empty 5-qt pot where the sauerkraut had boiled, add:

          1-Tbsp sunflower oil;

          1-Tbsp butter;

          2 medium onions, diced;

          3 cloves garlic, minced;

          3 thin-sliced carrots;

          2.5-cups diced (fresh or canned, preferably fresh) red tomatoes.

     Simmer this mixture, stirring frequently, for 15-min.

     Turn off the fire under the Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot.

     Spoon in the chicken, potatoes, and sauerkraut plus a small amount of the broth.

     Boil this mixture merrily, on a low boil, stirring often, for 10-min.

     Add the remaining broth from the Chicken-in-the-Broth-Pot.

     Boil all together, uncovered, for 10-min longer.

Step-3: Add the beets to the soup.

     Remove the beets from the oven.

     Add the baked beets to the Onions-and-Garlic-Pot

          (which contains all the other ingredients, now thoroughly cooked through).

     Simmer uncovered at a high simmer for 15-min, until the soup is a beautiful red.

     Taste for salt and pepper; add if needed.

     Cover, remove the pot from the fire, and let the borscht rest for 10-min.

Serve Potkalitsky’s Borscht in large soup bowls with a dollop of sour cream.


Daughter of an extended Ukrainian-American family, Jill Potkalitsky Dahlburg (she/her/hers) followed her early dream of achieving a Ph.D. in physics so she could study the stuff of stars and limitless terrestrial energy: plasma, the fourth state of matter. As a lover of delicious food, she helped in the kitchen at home for as far back as she can remember, and she continues to prepare her Ukrainian grandmothers' heart-warming dishes for family, friends, and scientific colleagues as often as she can.

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