7 secrets of a great borsch and its preparation
Mark Blitshteyn is known by many people in Tatras. Moscow-born, he started to organize charter flights from Russia to Poprad over 20 years ago.
He now inspires with his innovations at his Hotel Družba in Jasna, Low Tatras.
If you do not know him, we recommend stopping by as you are missing out. His witty sense of humor, perception of hotel business and stories from his mother land are worth the trip.
But that is not what I wanted to talk about.
I got offered Ukrainian borsch 5 years ago and I ordered it every time from that on. I often remain disappointed though as it does not even come close to the borsch I ate at Hotel Družba! That’s how much I enjoyed it!
When we met after some time, I immediately asked if he could share his secrets about borsch making. When he said that there are no secrets I got excited as I knew that this will be a delightful story.
Initially Mark addresses that borsch making is a very complex process. The fact that there are over 28 ways to make it, from Russian to Poltavian approach. Not to mention the other hundreds of variations.
Marks “Ľudova” Restaurant offers Ukrainian borsch. Its secret is in the unique and unusual procedure.
Beetroot is cooked in its peel
1. “I do not fry the beetroot in the oil as most of the chefs do but I start by boiling it in water,” he discloses the first step that makes the major difference.
- He cooks the beetroot with the meat which prevents it to lose its color.
- There are 3 distinct types of meat in his borsch. Beef, pork and mutton.
- “In the exact same ratio, it´s very important”, he adds.
- Another crucial factor is what you do not add to the soup. “Ingredients like broths and vinegar are strictly forbidden in my kitchen. If you need to sweeten a meal, use carrots, there are tomatoes for sourness etc.
- Mark doesn’t use potatoes either, even though he enjoys them in other meals. Cream is in a separate container, so everyone can add as much as he wishes.
How do we finalize his borsch?
- We add white pepper, tomatoes, pre-cooked beans, cabbage, carrots and already cooked beetroot. Dill and fresh garlic is added after it is finished.
These seemingly simple steps add the borsch very authentic taste. Just grab the spoon and dig in!
We asked the chef Braňo Adamec about his borsch. “It is much harder to cook this borsch in terms of process and ingredients but it´s worth it”.
Even though Mark Blitshsteyn manages a huge hotel, he sometimes does put an apron on and cooks himself. He says that it is the only way to get to know all the details on each position.