Russia #2: Wandering The Hermitage & Mom’s Borscht

From Moscow, we took the high-speed train to St. Petersburg. It’s smaller and more European in style, with lots of canals and bridges throughout.  Cathedrals dot the landscape. We spent practically an entire day at The Hermitage; NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art could easily fit inside this palace showcasing millions of works collected by Russian royals. The football field-sized period rooms display gold gilded chandeliers and furniture not to be believed. I imagined being a child growing up here; it would be a fantastic place to play hide and seek.  We marveled how in so many rooms we were the only visitors and were able to get very close to paintings. CIMG2928CIMG2933

I ate as much borscht- the traditional beet-based soup-  as I could for lunch. Frankly, none were as good as my mother’s; a recipe I’ve made many times. Unknown

Mom’s Borscht

Beef Bones or 1 pound  chuck meat beef with bones
½ head medium sized cabbage (mix red and white)
one large potato, 1 medium parsnip, two medium sized beets, 1 large apple, two carrots, 2 onions, 4 stalks celery, 5-6 cloves of minced garlic, parsley, dill, thyme, lemon, honey, salt, pepper to taste
one large can tomato paste

Boil meat in water, skim off fat, cool for about an hour. Shred cabbage, slice vegetables, add to stock. Add water to fill six- quart pot, cook between two and three hours until meat and vegetables are soft. Remove meat from bones. Cut into small  chunks, return to soup, add seasoning.

Traditionally this soup is served with a dollop of sour cream. It doesn’t really need it and I  have never served it with the soup. I might make it vegetarian to please my vegan/kosher diet children.  Perfect for these in-between March days.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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18 Responses to Russia #2: Wandering The Hermitage & Mom’s Borscht

  1. Drjcwash says:

    Beautiful pictures. The whole day sounds wonderful. I can’t imagine how beautiful each of those pieces must be. Thanks for the Borscht recipe. I am going to try it this weekend since we are suppose to have snow next week.

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  2. Love the photos and commentary – thanks for taking me along through your experience. I may have to try your mother’s recipe one day!
    Diana xo

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  3. I love borscht, but would hold the beef, as my family is all vegetarian. I will give your mom’s recipe a try!

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  4. Being Polish by heritage I have a similar recipe. I boil the lemon (cut into 4) with the other vegetables and then fish them out before the end. Love borscht (or barszcz as we spell it) and serve it every Christmas Eve, which is traditional in Poland.

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  5. Robinann says:

    How can this be vegetaria?

    Sent from my iPod

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  6. Veg broth and skip the meat!

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  7. staceysnacks says:

    Must have beef in borscht! I love this recipe! I had no idea you were in Moscow. Be safe and enjoy. xo

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  8. Home now. Fascinating place, badly maligned in US press. Didn’t get into the countryside except from the train to St. Petersburg. Not sure I could do a “roots” trip– the villages where my grandparents are from probably don’t exist.

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  9. Colline says:

    I have always found home cooking is best.

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  10. That’s the one big problem with traveling– too much eating out in restaurants.

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  11. LOL, some of us make the same mistake even when we are not traveling. We find it so much easier to eat out than to cook.
    Lisa, I am enjoying reading about your trip to Russia. You have sparked within me the travel bug. Please keep sharing your experiences.

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  12. Thanks, Allegra. Home now and happy to be back. I made borscht without meat and it’s great! I adapted the above recipe a bit and added a chunk of fresh ginger. Fantastic.

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  13. ‘Love the details of your trip. We got as far as St. Petersburg but never made it to Moscow.
    And the borsht is definitely a “keeper” recipe. Thanks for the addition.

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  14. Add minced fresh ginger– gives it a great kick.

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  15. tchistorygal says:

    I’ve never tried borsht, but it sounds delicious! 🙂 Your trip sounds amazing. 🙂

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