Fiddler's Favorite Recipes Episode 23: Solomiya Ivakhiv's Ukrainian Borscht 'Grandma’s Recipe'

May 18, 2020, 12:00 PM · For today’s Fiddler’s Favorites we have violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv with her Ukrainian Borscht "Grandma’s Recipe."

Solomiya Ivakhiv

I first met Solomiya in Philadelphia a few years ago and look forward to being with her "cyberly" at the Curtis Institute of Music Summerfest Young Artist Program, where we will both be teaching this summer.

Solomiya is a celebrated soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator, as well as a champion of new music and as a dedicated educator. She's received several international honors, including the Sergei Prokofiev and Yaroslav Kocian International Competitions, the Fritz Kreisler and Charles Miller Award from the Curtis Institute of Music, Award from the President of the Ukraine, 2019 Curtis Institute of Music Alumni Award and 2016 New Scholar Award from the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts. She is a Professor of Violin and Viola and Head of Strings at the University of Connecticut and Professor of Violin at Longy School of Music of Bard College.

Here she shares a very special and delicious recipe - enjoy!

Recipe by Solomiya Ivakhiv


  • 1 pound beets (3-4 large beets)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, sliced, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/4 cabbage head, shredded
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • half of a 6 oz can of tomato paste (or crushed tomatoes or tomato juice)
  • 1 or 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 bay leaves


  • dill
  • sour cream


  • 1 sweet red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • half of a 15 oz can of beans (kidney beans, butter beans, etc)
  • half of lemon (juice)


  1. Bake or boil the beets for 30 minutes, or until tender. Let cool.
  2. If bacon is used (I cooked without it), heat a large skillet on the stove, and cook the bacon in it, and then sauté the onion. Otherwise, sauté the onion in a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
  3. Add salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the sliced carrots, and sauté for 2 more minutes.
    Add cabbage, celery, and sweet pepper (if desired).
    Add garlic, dill, and black pepper. Sauté for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
    Add tomato paste, sauté for another 10 minutes.
  4. Prepare a pot with 3 liters of water (3,17 liquid quarts). Add salt, bay leaf and potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Peel and grate the cooked beets (make sure they are cold and easy to handle). If a grater isn’t available, cut the beets into cubes. Caution: beats will leave your hands stained.
  6. Alternatively, a blender can be used to process the vegetables and the beets (I like to bite into the vegetables, which is why I chop them).
    Add the beets and sautéed vegetables into the pot with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.
    Add the juice of half a lemon (optional).
  7. Garnish with sour cream and dill.

*Borscht tastes better the next day! Enjoy!


May 18, 2020 at 07:55 PM · Well if that doesn't beet all!

May 19, 2020 at 03:02 AM · You forgot to mention adding the beet leaves (chopped) in the early part of the year when the beets first come on the market. "Doozxe Smachna"

May 19, 2020 at 09:59 AM · Thanks Solomiya! My grandmother from Ukraine also made borsht- but with beets only. I always loved it both hot and even better cold, with sour cream, of course! Your recipe looks really wonderful, and I can’t wait to try it. Thank You also for your beautiful - so fortunate to have heard you play up here in NH with Halcyon

May 19, 2020 at 12:09 PM · And for the rest of the season you can probably substitute chard.

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