Borscht is traditionally an unclarified bouillon, flavoured with vegetables, beef, duck and beetroot and garnished with strips of vegetable including beetroot, that is served accompanied by sour cream, small duck patties and beetroot juice. It is, however, common trade practice for a clarified consommé to be used as the base stock for this soup.
Makes: 2 liters. Cooking time: 2 hours.
— 3 liters white stock, cold
— 250 g thick flank of beef
— 1×2 kg duck
— 2 dl beetroot juice
— 100 g carrots
— 100 g leek coarsely cut
— 100 g celery
— 1 bouquet garni
Garnished with: (cut into julienne strips approximately 1mmx4cm cooked in butter without coloration)
— 75 g carrots
— 75 g leek
— 75 g raw beetroot
— 2 dl beetroot juice
— 2 dl sour cream
— 10 very small duck patties
— grated raw beetroot
— seasoning of salt and pepper
(1) Roast the prepared duck in a very hot oven for approximately 20 minutes allowing it to color well; drain off the surplus fat.
(2) Blanch the beef in cold water and refresh.
(3) Add the cold stock to the duck, beef, vegetables, beetroot juice and bouquet garni.
(4) Bring to the boil, skim and gently simmer, removing the duck and the beef as they become cooked. Cool and cut into small dice for the garnish.
(5) Strain the liquid through a muslin as for a consommé then reboil and skim off all traces of fat.
(6) Add the diced beef and duck plus the julienne strips of cooked vegetables.
(7) Season to taste and, if necessary, correct the colour and serve with accompaniments.
(1) The quality of the finished soup will depend upon the quality of the foundation stock or consommé.
(2) If the beef is not blanched before adding to the liquid the soup will become cloudy.
(3) A good duck stock or a brown beef stock to which duck bones and giblets have been added may be used in place of whole duck.
(4) If the duck is not roasted until at least half cooked the amount of fat subsequently produced may give the soup a greasiness which will be difficult to remove and will require continuous boiling and skimming.
(5) Continuous skimming is necessary to avoid cloudiness as the impurities may cook back into the liquid.
(6) Once the meat and poultry have been removed after cooking they must be immediately cut into dice and retained in some of the cooking liquid. If this procedure is not followed at once the meat will dry out.
Borscht may be served in a soup tureen or in soup plates. It should be accompanied by the beetroot juice and sour cream in sauceboats together with the duck patties.
Assessment of the completed dish:
(1) The soup should be hot.
(2) The colour should be a reddish amber similar to that of a consommé.
(3) The liquid part of the soup should be clear.
(4) The flavour should be a combination of beef, duck and vegetables – with a slight emphasis on that of duck.
(5) The surface of the soup should be free of fat.
(6) The garnish should be cut evenly to the appropriate size.
(7) The garnish should be in the correct proportion to the liquid — about one-third.
(8) The duck patties should be small in size (about the size of a 2p piece) and baked to a light golden colour.
(9) The beetroot juice should be strained free from sediment.
(10) The soured cream should be slightly thick in consistency and served chilled.