Recipe: Ukrainian borscht with caraway dumplings

Recipe: Ukrainian borscht with caraway dumplings
Ukrainian borscht with caraway dumpling (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Ukrainian borscht with caraway dumplings

Total time:


3 hours




Garnish each serving of the soup with a little sour cream and a sprinkling of dill. Kvass, a fermented beverage, is usually available at Central and Eastern European markets.

2 pounds beef short ribs


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

8 cups water, more if needed

2 turnips, cut to ½-inch cubes

2 carrots, diced

1/3 cup tomato juice

3/4 cup kvass

2 cups shredded red cabbage

3 beets, peeled

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten


1. Season the short ribs

with a teaspoon of salt.

2. Heat a 5-quart heavy-bottom pot

over high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, then add the short ribs, in batches, and heat until browned on each side, about 10 minutes. Remove the ribs from the pot and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat

to medium-high and stir in the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until the onions are soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Add the ribs

back to the pot, along with the peppercorns and bay leaves. Add the water to cover and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, loosely cover and cook until the ribs start to become tender, about 11/2 hours.

5. Skim any foam or fat

from the surface of the pot and stir in the turnips and carrots. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft and the ribs are very tender and falling off the bone, 30 to 45 minutes more.

6. Remove the ribs

from the pot and discard the bones. Slice or pull the meat into coarse, medium chunks. Return the meat to the pot.

7. Stir in the tomato juice,


and cabbage and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Using a box grater or food processor, shred the beets into fine strips and add to the pot. Add the vinegar.

8. While the soup is simmering,

prepare the dumplings: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and caraway seeds. In a separate small bowl, beat together the milk and egg. Drizzle the egg mixture over the flour and stir with a fork until it forms a stiff, sticky batter.

9. Taste the soup

and season as desired with salt and pepper, then make the dumplings: Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the caraway dumpling batter into the simmering soup. Cover the pot and steam the dumplings until they are set and firm and the cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

10. Spoon the borscht

into bowls, making sure each serving gets at least 1 dumpling.

Each serving:

159 calories; 9 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 39 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 460 mg sodium.