Russian Gourmet: Green Borscht

The good news about the green borscht is that it doesn’t have the dreaded beets in it. The bad news is that it’s made out of spinach. I understand that when you list the ingredients – spinach, green onions, boiled eggs you may not find it to be an exceptionally enticing combination. Nevertheless, it’s one of my favorite soups, light, easy to make and delicious.
Assemble the ingredients: 3-4 eggs, spinach, green onions, parsley, potatoes, rice and dill (or dill weed, still legal in all 50 states), which I unfortunately forgot to procure.

Start by boiling eggs in a medium pot of salted water. The new scientific way to do this is to cover the eggs with 1 inch of water, bring to boil, turn the heat off and cover for 10 minutes. No need for little cute egg-timers and no room for guessing, the eggs will be perfectly done.
In the meantime, start boiling some water in the large pot. This is not a thick soup, I filled up my pot about half-way. The recipe says to boil some rice (about 1/2 cup) separately and rinse before adding to the soup. I skip this step and put rice directly into the pot when the water starts boiling; you are cooking borscht, not trying to get every pot you own dirty.

Next, finely chop some green onions;I used a whole package from WalMart, or 1 bunch. If some Emeril wannabes want to call them scallions, just roll your eyes quietly and let them have their moment.

While chopping onions both the white and green ends go into the soup but my Mom says that the middle part is bitter and throws it away. I personally never checked if the middle part is really bitter but I take my Mom’s word for it. Don’t send me comments about how useful the middles are, or how you can weave a blanket out of them; I will still throw them away because my Mom said so.

Add chopped onions to the pot. Make sure it doesn’t boil too hard, adjust heat as needed.
Cube 3-5 potatoes and add to the pot; add salt.

Now on to the spinach. I buy pre-washed baby spinach in a box or a bag. You may be tempted to overpay and buy organic, but keep in mind that they probably used something that rhymes with schmecal schmatter to fertilize it (that what makes it cost more). I go for chemicals every time. I used one package, 8 oz, I think.

Tear off stems from the spinach leaves and chop them medium. You can stack several leaves together to make this process easier, then it’s will be what’s known to the Food Network watchers as chiffonade.

Chop the parsley. When potatoes are almost ready (can be cut with a spoon with a slight effort) add spinach and parsley to the pot. Boil for 5-7 minutes.
While all this boiling is going on, use a box grater to shred the eggs, or just chop them with a knife.

Add 4-5 tablespoons of the sour cream and mix it really well. Add chopped dill, if your Mom didn’t have a schmuck for a son and you didn’t forget to buy it. When the soup boils again, turn the heat off, add the shredded eggs and adjust the salt.
You are done.

Eat warm or cold, I don’t like it really hot. We used to eat it straight out of the fridge in the summer months.
P.S. The beauty of this recipe is that you can’t screw it up by adding too much or too little of any ingredient, except for the salt. So go easy on salt and you will not be disappointed.

  • Mark

    “spinach, green onions, boiled eggs you may not find it to be an exceptionally enticing combination”

    It is to me! Love spinach. Love onions. Love hard-boiled eggs. What’s not to like? I’m not much of a soup person in the Spring and Summer months but I will definitely be trying this recipe next Fall!

    By the way, what’s the deal with this funky avatar?

    • Well, actually it’s a good summer soup, can be consumed cold, thin with almost no fat. When I was a kid spinach and green onions were not available in winter, unlike beets and cabbage for the red borscht.

  • May

    Looks tasty!

  • Looks good, I’ll have to try it. I really really like beets though. Tasty and they die the food such a pretty color!

  • I travel for JOOLS

    I really like raw spinach but can’t do the cooked spinach thing. I’ll say this though. Borscht is healthy.

  • Marie Viljoen

    Thanks for the recipe – I stumbled upon the mention of green borscht in the New York Times today and started looking. I love red borscht.

    The schmecal schmatter is probably just compost, you know, or seaweed. I go for natural every time 🙂 Chemicals contain a lot of horse or steer pee, in case you were squeamish about organic, also coral atolls. The odd strip mine

  • Anonymous

    Green goodness, but please don’t forget the dill!

  • Yuliya Grytsenko

    It’s an interesting recepie but it’s actually made with sorrel that gives the need sourness to the borsch. But spinach is a good substitution.

    • In these parts you have to make an effort to find sorrel. It’s not sold year round and not everywhere. And I am too lazy to look for it 🙂