Ch. 11

compiled by Fanek Rymaszewski

  • Most recipes will serve from 4 to 6 people. For a larger group simply increase the ingredients in proportion. Use your judgment. Make notes of any changes or improvements for the following Christmas.
  • To convert from Grams to Ounces, simply multiply the grams by 0.04 To convert from Ounces to Grams, simply multiply the ounces by 28.35
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First, about 8 - 7 days before Christmas make
FIRST ITEM : sour, fermented beetroot juice
~ 1 kg of fresh sweet beetroots
~ 3 litres of lukewarm pre-boiled water
~ 1 small bulb of garlic
~ 1 small carrot
~ 30 g of horseradish
~ 1 teasp of parsley flakes
~ 1 teasp of ground cumin
~ 3 teasps of salt
~ 1 teasp of sugar
~ 1 crust of rye bread

  • Peel and cut the beetroots into thin slices. Slice garlic and carrot.
  • Put all the ingredients into a large glass or earthenware jar and cover completely with lukewarm pre-boiled water.
  • Place a crust or slice of whole-meal (rye) bread on top to hasten the process of fermentation.
  • Leave container open or cover with gauze and keep it in warm place.
  • After 5 - 6 days carefully remove the surface foam and strain the clear red juice. Pour the juice into clean screw-cap bottles and store in cold place.
  • SECOND ITEM : mushroom concentrated stock
    ~ 100 g of mushrooms
    ~ 2 - 3 cups of water

  • Wash and soak mushrooms overnight.
  • Boil with up to 3 cups of water, and strain.
    (discarded mushrooms could be used for making "uszka")

    THIRD ITEM : beetroot stock
    ~ 6 fresh beetroots
    ~ carrot
    ~ leek
    ~ 1 onion
    ~ 1/2 teasp of parsley flakes
    ~ 10 grains of black pepper
    ~ 2 grains of allspice
    ~ small bay leaf

  • Peel and thinly slice beetroots. Put them in a pot. Add vegetables cut into small pieces and all other ingredients.
  • Fill the pot with water and boil until beetroots become cooked and soft.
  • Pour the stock through sieve into a large cooking pot.

    ~ ALL beetroot stock
    ~ ALL mushroom stock
    ~ sour beetroot juice - as explained below
    ~ glass of dry red wine
    ~ salt, pepper, sugar
    ~ 1 raw beetroot, grated to a pulp
    ~ crushed garlic

    ~ sour cream

  • Add all the mushroom stock to beetroot stock in the cooking pot and mix the two liquids together.
  • Then add the sour fermented beetroot juice in proportions : 1/4 of sour juice to 3/4 of mixed stock.   E.g. 1 litre of sour juice for 3 litres of mixed stock (Result = 4 litres of borsch).
  • Heat the borsch until it starts to boil, but no more. Switch off heat.
  • Add a glass of red wine.
  • Flavour borsch to your taste, carefully with salt, pepper and a little sugar. If too sour, add a bit more sugar.
  • If not sour enough, add some more red wine (or lemon juice) but never vinegar.
  • Add the juice of fresh beetroot grated to a pulp, or pour the borsch through sieve with grated raw beetroot in it. Now the colour should be rich red.
  • During wigilia, heat the borsch and, not earlier than 15 minutes before serving, add crushed garlic.
  • Serve hot.  Sour cream can be added individually, if desired.

    The traditional addition to Wigilia borsch are dumplings with mushroom filling called "uszka" ("little ears"). They are similar to italian tortelinni or ravioli.

To save time, instead of making"uszka" you may buy prepackaged tortelinni. They are not as good as uszka but will save you a lot of work. In any case, below is the recipe for uszka:

USZKA for the barszcz
FIRST ITEM : mushroom mixture
  • Blend in the following ingredients and season:
    ~ mushrooms - chop finely
    ~ 1 small onion - chop finely
    ~ 1 raw egg
    ~ 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
    ~ butter
  • Fry the mixture

~ 180 g of flour
~ 1 egg
~ pinch of salt

  • Knead dough (should be stiffer than for noodles).
  • Roll out thinly.
  • Cut into 40 mm squares.

    TO MAKE : uszka
  • Place some mushroom mixture into center of a square, fold over and press edges firmly together, then fold diagonally and stick two opposite corners together.
  • Throw all uszka into salted boiling water for about 5 minutes. They are ready when they come to the surface.


12 medium beetroots
~ 1 onion
~  salt and pepper
~ 1 tablespoon of sugar
~  juice of 1 lemon
~ 3 cubes of vegetable bouillon (stock)
~ liquid mushroom extract
~ garlic powder
~ 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Peel beetroots and slice. Slice the onion.
  • Cook beetroots and onion in water until beets are cooked and tender.
  • Add lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and leave overnight.
  • Strain the next day.
  • Add bouillon dissolved in 2 cups of hot water and simmer borsch for half an hour.
  • Add liquid mushroom extract. Adjust seasoning and add some garlic powder.
  • Add sour cream, or serve as a clear soup.


Ingredients (1)
~ 500 g jar marinated Bismarck herrings
~ 2 cups of cold, cooked diced potatoes
~ 2 peeled diced apples
~ 2 chopped onions
~ 4 chopped dill pickles

  • Take out marinated Bismarck herrings from the jar and drain. Discard jar with onions and spices in the jar.
  • Dice herrings and place in salad bowl.
  • Add all the above ingredients.
  • Toss gently and fold in sauce made as follows:

    Ingredients (2)
    ~ fork-blend 1 and 1/2 cup mayonnaise with
    ~ 1/2 cup sour cream and
    ~ 2 tablespoons of mustard.
  • Chill for 2 hours before serving


    Ingredients (1)
~ 560 - 400 g jar of pickled onions
~ 560 - 400 g jar of dill cucumbers
~ 560 - 400 g jar of sliced beetroots
~ 4 medium apples
10 slightly salted Matjes herring filets
    (in soya oil)

  • Cut herrings into wide segments.
  • Slice dill cucumbers, onions and beetroots.
  • Wash, core, and dice apples.
  • Mix all the ingredients together.

     Ingredients (2)
    ~ 1/2 cup white vinegar
    ~ 1/2 cup of olive oil
    ~ 2 teaspoons of horseradish
    ~ salt and pepper
  • First, combine vinegar with horseradish, little salt and pepper.
  • Then add olive oil constantly mixing.
  • Pour mixture over salad and let stand for 2 hours before serving.


~ 4  fresh Lebanese cucumbers
~ salt, pepper
~ juice of one lemon
~ 1 teaspoon of sugar
~ 1 cup of sour cream
    (or plain low-fat yogurt)
~ green onions (optional) - thinly sliced
~ radishes (optional) - thinly sliced
~ fresh dill
- minced or chopped

  • Peel and thinly slice cucumbers.
  • Place into salad bowl.
  • Sprinkle with salt, let it stand for few minutes, add a little bit of pepper.
  • Add juice of one lemon, and one teaspoon of sugar.
  • Lace with 1 cup of of fork-blended sour light cream (or plain low-fat yogurt).
  • Mix the salad with the dressing.
  • Add several thinly sliced green onions and radishes (optional).
  • Garnish with two heaping teaspoons of minced (or chopped) fresh dill.
  • Refrigerate for one hour before serving.


~ 140 g of flour
~   70 g of butter
~   40 g of castor sugar
~ 1 raw egg yolk
~ 1/2 tablespoon of sour cream
~ a pinch of salt

  • Chop butter with flour thoroughly to form grains.
  • Add sugar, egg yolk, sour cream, a pinch of salt, and continue chopping a bit longer.
  • Knead a thick dough and put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • On floured board, thinly roll out the dough.
  • Cut long narrow rectangles, say about 25 mm wide x 100 mm long, or make other shapes with biscuit-cutter.
  • Bake in preheated oven on a greased cookie sheet to a light golden brown.

    ~ 140 g of flour
    ~ 140 g of castor sugar
    ~ 1 whole raw egg
  • Knead a thick dough.
  • Thinly roll out the dough on floured board.
  • Cut dough into long narrow rectangles and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven to a light golden brown.

    NOTE: If you have no time to bake waffles, you may buy some similar buiscuits instead, and break them into pieces. They may be not as good but will save you a lot of work.

~ 2 cups of boiling milk
~ 1 cup of poppy seed
~ 2/3 cup of liquid honey
~ 1/2 crushed vanilla bean - or use vanilla  
~ 120 g of minced blanched almonds
~ 120 g of raisins soaked in brandy or rum

  • Pour 2 cups of boiling milk over a cup of poppy seed and cook over low heat for about 20 - 25 minutes.
  • Drain thoroughly on a sieve, then put the whole poppy seeds through a meat grinder 3 times.
  • Combine the ground poppy seed with liquid honey, vanilla, minced blanched almonds and raisins soaked in brandy (or rum - you can add some rum or brandy to the paste itself).
  • If the poppy seed paste is too thick, it can be thinned out with a small amount of sweet cream
    (if not available, scoop some from the surface of full cream milk).
  • Cool the poppy seed paste in the refrigerator.
  • Just before serving, place the paste in a salad bowl and spike densely or decorate with the waffles.


~ 1/2 kg of mixed dried fruit
~ 2 cups of water
~ 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
~ grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
~ 6 cloves - whole or ground, or pinch of
    ground cinnamon

  • After rinsing, soak dried fruit in 2 cups of water for 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Add a little water. More water if all has been absorbed.
  • Add sugar and cook about 15 minutes till sugar is dissolved.
  • Add lemon juice, grated rind and cloves or cinnamon.
  • Serve chilled (refrigerate) or at room temperature.


~ 3 cups of water
~ 1/2 kg of mixed dried fruit :
    pears, figsapricots and peaches
~ 1 cup of pitted prunes
~ 1/2 cup of raisins
~ 1 cup of pitted sweet cherries
~ 2 peeled and sliced apples
~ 1/2 cup of cranberries
~ 1 cup of sugar
~ 1 sliced lemon
~ 6 whole cloves
~ 2 sticks of cinnamon
~ 1 orange
~ 1/2 cup of grapes or pitted plums
~ 3/4 cup of brandy

  • Combine mixed dry fruits, prunes and raisins with 3 cups of water in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the fruit is plump and tender).
  • Add cherries, apples and cranberries.
  • Stir in cup of sugar, lemon and spices.
  • Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Grate orange peel and set aside.
  • Peel and section the orange (removing the skin and white membrane). Add to fruits in the pot.
  • Stir in grapes (or pitted plums) and brandy.
  • Bring just to boiling and then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the grated orange peel, cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Serve chilled.
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