Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

December 12th, 2009 in Hot Soups, Soup Recipes by
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Total cooking time: 3h  

There is more than one recipe for borsch on this website, if you are looking for some other recipe, try here: all borscht recipes. You can also find more of homemade lenten food recipes.




Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

In a lot of countries Christmas Eve dinner gathers whole family around one big table. Borscht with mushroom dumplings is the one of 12 dishes which usually are on that table by tradition in West Ukraine (by the way those dumplings are called “vushka” in ukrainian, which means “small ears”, I guess because of the shape).

Of course, because that is the Christmas Eve and Nativity Fast isn’t finished yet there is no meat used to prepare it: just vegetables and dried mushrooms. This borscht like the rest of the Christmas Eve’s traditional food is lenten, it is very tasty and isn’t heavy at all – most of the vegetables are used to prepare clear broth only and don’t get served with the borscht itself.

At first glance, it may look like cooking it is a bit of a hassle and time spending: so many steps (I’ve prepared 34 step-by-step pictures for this recipe!) and so many manipulations with different cooking utensils. However, you can complete preparation steps a day in advance – for example soak mushrooms, boil them or/and boil beets, you can even make dumplings a day before, freeze them and prepare the borscht next day. And then, nobody said you need to make everything yourself: involve your family into helping you! And have a Marry Christmas!

Ingredients:


  • Lenten Borscht

    3 beets
  • 2-3 onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small celery root
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1 kohlrabi stem (if you have small kohlrabi, like I did, take several of them)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Sunflower oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Allspice peppercorns
  • Salt to taste

  • Mushroom Dumplings (“Small Ears”, “Vushka”)

    1 onion
  • 2 oz of dried porcini
  • All purpose flour, about 4 cups in total
  • Black peppercorns
  • Sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of cold water

How to prepare, step-by-step:

  1. Prepare ingredients: choose ripe beets, dark red and sweet; dried porcini can be substituted with dried birch bolets, however I would not advice to use any other mushrooms — the taste won’t be the same. I should probably also mention what original recipe doesn’t include using kohlrabi, however I like it for this recipe:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 1

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 1

  2. Put dried porcini into a bowl with cold water (about 2-3 quarts) and let them soak for several hours. It is generally good idea to do that a night before if you are planning to cook lenten borscht on the morning:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 2

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 2

  3. Boil beets with skin-on till they are ready and set them aside:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 3

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 3

  4. Pour mushrooms the liquid they were in to the cooking pot, bring them to simmer over moderate heat and boil for about 1 hour till mushrooms are soft:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 4

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 4

  5. Drain the mushroom stock to the other cooking pot (you will need it later on) using colander and rinse mushrooms with cold water:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 5

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 5

  6. Mince boiled mushrooms in food processor or meat grinder, or if you don’t have any of those simply chop them finely with a knife (I’ve used meat grinder):
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 6

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 6

  7. Warm up a skillet with sunflower oil over moderate heat. Skin all onions, set one aside, and chop the rest (I haven’t done a good job with onions this time: it is better to chop them into smaller pieces than I did on the photos). Fry chopped onions until they are soft and yellow:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 7

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 7

  8. Add a half of all fried onions to minced mushrooms:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 8

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 8

  9. Season with ground black pepper and salt to taste (it is good to make the stuffing a bit spicy because the rest of the dish has smooth taste) and mix. Stuffing for dumplings is ready, set it aside for now:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 9

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 9

  10. Now lets prepare dough for dumplings: put about 2 cups of all purpose flour to a bowl, dissolve 1 tea spoon of salt in a cup of cold water and pour water over the flour:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 10

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 10

  11. Mix flour with water together until you get a dough you can actually knead by hands, add more flour if needed (find here some tips on how to prepare dough for dumplings):
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 11

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 11

  12. Cover dough with a plastic wrap and let it rest while you prepare vegetable broth for the borscht. For that fill a big cooking pot (about 5-6qts) with a water and bring it to boiling. Skin carrots, parsley and celery roots and slice them into pieces, cut the last onion into big pieces and add all those vegetables to the pot with boiling water:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 12

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 12

  13. Add 2-3 bay leaves and several peppercorns of allspice and let it all simmer together for about 10 mins:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 13

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 13

  14. Then skin kohlrabi, cut it into big pieces (I cut each of my small ones into 8 pieces) and add them to the cooking pot. Simmer vegetables together for about 1 hour, then turn the heat off:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 14

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 14

  15. While vegetable stock is being prepared let’s make dumplings. It is easier to deal with dough if you roll it on big wooden board. So take a big wooden board and powder it with flour, remove plastic wrap from the dough, powder dough with four and knead it several times to make sure it is soft and homogeneous:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 15

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 15

  16. Cut a quarter size piece of the dough and roll it very thin with a rolling pin (cover the rest of a dough with a plastic wrap to prevent it from drying):
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 16

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 16


    Cut rolled dough into diamond-shaped pieces with sides about 2” long with a knife:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 16

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 16

  17. Here is how you make a mushroom dumpling, take a dough piece:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 17

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 17


    Set about ½ of tea spoon of a mushroom stuffing in the middle of the one dough square:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 17

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 17

  18. Stick opposite corners of dough square together:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 18

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 18

  19. Then stick together sides to form a triangle:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 19

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 19

  20. Pull left and right corners of the triangle to each other and press them together:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 20

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 20

  21. Repeat for the rest of the dough and stuffing:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 21

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 21

  22. By Ukrainian tradition a few dumplings in lenten borscht for the Christmas Eve dinner have black peppercorns instead of the mushroom stuffing. It is considered a good sign to eat such dumpling: the person who eats such dumpling will be lucky next year. So, if you want to support this tradition go ahead and make 1 or 2 dumplings with even amount of black peppercorns (7, 9, 11, whatever works better for you), make sure those dumplings don’t look smaller than others, add a bit of mushroom stuffing if needed:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 22

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 22

  23. Lay ready dumplings on the plate or wooden board powdered with flour so they don’t stick to each other:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 23

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 23

  24. Now it is a time to “assemble” the borscht: remove skin from the boiled beets, slice them into stripes or grate on the big slots (I prefer to slice), put into another big cooking pot:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 24

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 24

  25. Put a big colander above the cooking pot with beets and pour vegetable broth into it (make sure it isn’t too hot or beets can lose its color):
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 25

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 25

  26. You will receive something like this:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 26

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 26

  27. Warm up the rest of the fried onions a bit and pour them to the cooking pot:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 27

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 27

  28. Now it is a time to add mushroom stock, you may want to filter the liquid you got from boiling mushrooms if you see any kind of sand in it (the way the dried mushrooms being prepared doesn’t allow them to be washed properly, it is why that can happen especially if the mushroom are home dried).

    Then start adding mushroom water cup by cup to the cooking pot with beets and vegetable broth. Taste borscht after each cup and stop at the point when taste of beets and vegetables are balanced enough with taste of mushrooms. Salt and season with ground black pepper to taste and warm it up (but make sure it doesn’t boil):

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 28

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 28

  29. Bring water in another cooking pot to boil and salt it. Put dumplings to the boiling water and stir:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 29

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 29

  30. Wait until dumplings come to the surface and make sure water isn’t boiling too much:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 30

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 30

  31. After about one minute of boiling get dumplings out of the water with a skimmer:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 31

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 31

  32. Put cooked dumplings to the bowl and smear them with a butter:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 32

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 32

  33. Set several dumplings into the soup bowl:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 33

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings Recipe: Step 33

  34. Pour several ladles of vegetable and mushroom borscht, then it is ready to be served:
    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

    Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings

Enjoy!

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8 Responses to “Lenten Borscht with Mushroom Dumplings”

  1. Anna says:

    Прекрасний пост! Я живу на Західній Украіні і такий традиційний борщ з вушками у нас дуже популярний.Я випадково знайшла Ваш блог, він мені надзвичайно сподобався,буду Вас читати,якщо Ви не проти:)

  2. Diane says:

    Not sure if anyone can help. I am looking for a Broscht recipe. This one is the Polish version which includes fermented Rye. My Mom use to make it. It sometimes included putting the rye or sometimes rye bread in a crock and let it sit for a few days. Not sure what other ingredients it included. Hope you can help

  3. Marilyn says:

    This recipe sounds delicious and would make a beautiful first course for a Christmas Eve dinner. I can’t wait to try it.

    I was, however, a little confused by the title –something must have gotten lost in the translation. “Lenten” means “having to do with Lent”, the 40-day period before Easter that begins with Ash Wednesday. (Just as a footnote, the day before is Mardi Gras — “Fat Tuesday” in French — which traditionally ended the Carnival — “Goodbye to Meat” — season. Mardi Gras was last day day that people could enjoy rich foods such as meat and eggs before the Lent.) The word for the period preceding Christmas is “Advent”, which means “coming”. Since this soup is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, a more accurate name for this soup would be “Christmas Eve Borscht”.

    What are the other eleven dishes that are served with it?

    • Ukrainian / Polish Cristmas eve meals are all of “no-meat follow lent traditions” kind, I don’t want to jump into discussion about what is lenten and what is not as this seems to be a topic which gets lost in the translation a lot. This dish contains neither meat nor dairy and is traditionally server on the Christmas Eve, however I believe it can be served any time during any lent which assumes no meat and no diary as lenten food.

      Among other dishes I can say there may be pierogies with no meat (can be with potato, potato + mushrooms, cabbage stuffing), various mushrooms (salted / pickled), cabbage rolls with potatoes or grain stuffings, fresh and pickled vegetable salads, potatoes uzvar and of course kutia.

  4. Robert says:

    Just wsanted to shout out a thanks for this recipe. It has become a holiday tradition for our family!

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