Jen is Ukranian. I am not.
We have the turkey and traditional Canadian feast on Christmas Day, but last year decided a celebration of her roots would be a good thing to do on Christmsa Eve. So we have Cabbage Rolls, Perogies, Borscht and Kolbasa.We do that on the Canadian Christmas Eve, we don’t celebrate Ukrainian Christmas – which just happens to be today! Want to try something different? Dig in to my family’s Ukranian Christmas Dinner dishes, and if it looks a little much to have for today, the best part is they taste better 1 or 2 days later.
The kolbasa is simply an Overlander link and the perogies are Cheemo. We tried doing the Perogy Supper at the Ukranian Church and Jen just didnt like the homemade dumplings, so we go with frozen.
The cabbage roll and borscht recipes are from Jen’s mom, and just like with the recipes I had handed down from my grandmother, it’s less about super secret techniques and ingredients and more about basic flavours, simple ingredients and a whole lot of time.
Simple Borscht Recipe
8 cups water
1 pound pork ribs
1 large onion, peeled quartered
4 large beets, peeled and cut in thick julienne
3 carrots, peeled and cut in thick julienne
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 leafy top of celery stalk
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
3/4 c freshly chopped dill
1 c sour cream
2 c of V8 juice
To make the broth, boil the water with the pork ribs and skim off the fat. Add onion, chopped carrot, parsnip and top of celery stalk.
Cook slowly for an hour until meat is falling off bone. Skim fat throughout.
Strain the broth, remove meat from bone and roughly chop.
Add beets, cabbage, carrots, V8 juice, dill and meat to strained broth.
Simmer until the vegetables are tender, but firm.
Serve sprinkled with spoonful of sourcream and sprinly of fresh dill.
Simple Cabbage Rolls Recipe
2 c long grain rice
2 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 lbs ground pork
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 heads of savoy (winter) cabbage
1 large tin of tomato juice
1/2 tin of tomato soup
1/2 c chopped dill
Cook rice as per directions.
Preheat oven to 325.
Fry onions. Add beef and pork. Season with salt and pepper or a clove of minced garlic.
Once ground meat and onions are cooked, mix with rice, add fresh dill and season with salt and pepper.
Cut and core the cabbage. Place in a large pot of salted boiling water to soften leaves. Once the leaves become tender, they’ll easily peel off the head.
Dry them with a paper towel. Cut out the final few inches of firm rib on the leaf.
Add a few tablespoons of meat and rice mixture to the lead and roll into a small cigar shape. Place stem side down in a large baking dish. Repeat until dish is filled.
Cover the cabbage rolls with tomato soup and tomato juice. Bake at 325 for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
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