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Category Archives: russian

Cold Cucumber and Lettuce Soup

This refreshing summer soup seems new and trendy, but it really is my Russian Grandma Korzin’s recipe! My mom told me about this as I was preparing a pureed cucumber soup for a dinner party. I do remember eating this in my grandmother’s kitchen. It is the original “Ranch” dressing!

In a large ceramic or glass bowl combine:

4 cups cucumber, peeled, large seeds removed, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

4 green onions, sliced thin (this should be heavy on the onion)

Sprinkle heavily with Kosher salt and let sit 20 minutes

Add 1 head iceberg lettuce which has been sliced in 1 inch slices and then cut into 1 inch squares

In a small bowl whisk together:

2 cups sour cream and 4 cups buttermilk

Stir into vegetables. Serve immediately and make sure it is cold! 

The leftovers wilt as it sits in the frig. My grandmother preferred to serve her lettuce soup that way.

This is about 6-8 servings

Red Russian Soup/ Borsht


This is a blend of my grandmother, Donna Haluska Korzin’s recipe, and a recipe from the cookbook, Soup, A Way of Life, by Barbara Kafka, 1998Mrs. Kafka’s family and my grandmother were both from villages outside of Minsk, Belorussia.

Borsht is a soup made from a mixture of vegetables, often whatever is in your frig. There is a lot of cabbage in this soup, but the beets predominate because the color is so intense and the water the beets are cooked in is added to the soup.

This recipe makes about 5 and a half quarts. Cut the recipe in half if you’d like. I never do because it freezes well. 
The soup is a sweet sour style. My grandmother added sour salt or citric acid instead of the vinegar. Sometimes she would add sorrel or what she called “sour spinach” from her garden.

The natural sweetness of beets varies. Use less sugar to your taste.


Red Russian Soup/Borsht Red Russian Soup/Borsht


  • 3 pounds beef pot roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 4-6 inch chunks
  • 4 medium to large beets, (about 2-3 lbs) all but 2 inch of stems removed, reserve detached stems and leaves
  • 1-28 oz can chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 1 ½ inch squares or strips (about 9 cups or less if you prefer less cabbage)
  • 4 carrots, (about 1/2 pound) peeled and cut across into ½ inch rounds
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 medium to large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled only
  • 3 bay leaves or more
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 handful fresh dill weed, coarsely chopped
  • 6 or more whole allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Serve with sour cream


  • Place meat in a large pot and cover with 10 cups cold water
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer very gently for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Wash the beets with a scrub brush and soak the leaves and stems in cold water
  • While the meat is cooking, in a medium stockpot, place beets in enough cold water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until beets can be pierced with a knife. Don’t over cook.
  • In a large bowl place a mesh strainer and a layer of cheesecloth or heavy duty paper toweling. Strain the beets into the colander and bowl. Reserve liquid
  • Trim beets and remove the skin. Cut into large matchstick strips and set aside.
  • To the beef broth add onions, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, garlic, allspice, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.  Cover and bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are almost tender.
  • Add beet strips to the soup and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Cut the beet stems and leaves in 2 inch lengths
  • Add the beet stems and leaves to the soup and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in reserved beet liquid, vinegar, sugar, dill, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow flavors to blend at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Reheat soup. Float 1 tablespoon or more sour cream on top of each bowl of borsht if desired.