Russia is a cold scary place in the winter. To stay warm, Russians do two major things. They drink Vodka or their traditional soup Borscht. The city of Yakutsk has an average of -50.6 Fahrenheit temperature in January.
I always knew of Russian athletes drinking Borscht but I never got a chance to learn it until I started dating my current Fiance who is Half Moldovan and half Latvian. My fiance's grandfather was known to have a family recipe that was passed down and I was really lucky to learn this traditional soup the right way. As I mentioned in previous articles, my fiances grandfather was an ultimate badass. He used to regularly run barefeet in snow for miles and carving a hole in an icy lake for cold water emerging. He would daily meditate under a tree regardless of the time of year and temperatures. He was a vivid kettlebell practitioner and he was known for his holistic practices. I was lucky to learn the borscht recipe he passed down his family tree.
There are a few reason's why I believe Borscht will make you tough. Firstly, it is consumed by some of the toughest athletes in Eastern Europe on a regular basis. Success leaves clues so I will drink it. Secondly, it is made out of beets. Beets are shown in research studies to improve athletic performance and improve mitochondria function. This was one of the biggest break throughs in nutrition and exercise science history. Thirdly, it is made out of bone broth. Some cultures believe bone broth will bring the dead back to life. Chicken broth is known as "Jewish Penicillin" among some communities. There is some research out there that shows that chicken broth increases white blood cells. Muay Thai fighters relied on chicken broth soup for recovery for centuries and it is a staple in their diet.
Fedor Emelienko's coach stated in one of his pre-fight interviews that he drinks a tendon stew soup that be believes provides him strength and endurance. I frankly do not know what he exactly used for his soup but it sounds somewhat similar to the Borscht soup. Either way, the borscht soup won't harm you and should be a good addition to your diet even if it is just for taste.
Below is the Recipe for the authentic borscht soup that was passed down from my fiance's grandfather.
Four or Five 4 ounce beef shank with the bone in.
2 Large Onions
4 Large Beets
5 Carrots (Can be cooked ahead of time and chopped or shredded)
1 Grated Cabbage
Salt/Pepper/Bay Leaves (2)
Add 500 ml of water to a pot and boil the beef for 45 minutes to an hour.
Boil beets in a separate pot, containing 6 cups of water, for 45 minutes to an hour or until you are able to pierce through it with a knife.
Once beets are soft. Peel the beets and shred it and put it back in the water. Then add shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, shredded tomatoes, chopped up onions and diced up potatoes.
Transfer the beef broth water over to the vegetable stew. Then chop the meat and add it to the soup (this can be an option if you are not interested in consuming meat).
Cook for 30 minute on medium/low until potatoes are fully cooked. Add sea salt, pepper, bay leaves, vegeta (multi-purpose European seasoning mix that you can find at a Russian grocery store or some other health food stores). Once it is cooked add lemon juice (I used 1 whole lemon) and dill to garnish.
Serve with a spoon of sour cream.
Enjoy this soup. It is best served with homemade mashed potatoes and kotletki (Russian Meat Patties).
Even though I am not a fan of alcohol, If you want to finish the meal off Russian style, you drink 100 grams of Vodka with a slice of your favorite tort(cake).
This soup will keep you warm and keep you strong!
Enjoy This Soup, nazdarovya!