Borscht with Braised Beef Short Ribs

October 27, 2019

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My family lived in Donetsk, Ukraine for a spell when I was a young. There are so many things from our time there that I remember so vividly, and borscht is among the top.

Borscht with Braised Beef Short Ribs

Borscht in Ukraine is like chicken noodle soup in America. We ate it multiple times each week, and though every person has their own recipe it was always clear we were eating borscht. My version is AIP-friendly (auto-immune paleo), and the addition of the short ribs is definitely a liberty I’ve taken (not likely to see it in many homes in Ukraine). But beef bones and stock are classic to the dish, so it works amazingly well.

Borscht with Braised Beef Short Ribs

Borscht with Braised Beef Short Ribs
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Borscht with Braised Beef Short ribs

This version is AIP-friendly (auto-immune paleo), and the addition of the short ribs is definitely a liberty I've taken (not likely to see it in many homes in Ukraine). But beef bones and stock are classic to the dish, so it works amazingly well.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: borscht


For braising the short ribs

  • 8 beef short ribs silver skin trimmed off
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 qts beef bone broth
  • 2 sprigs oregano
  • 2 sprigs thyme

For the soup

  • 1 apple peeled, cored, diced
  • 2 large beets peeled, diced
  • 1/4 head medium cabbage chopped
  • 1 large parsnip diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 4 cups water
  • TT salt

To finish

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • coconut cream or sour cream if you aren't dairy free
  • fresh dill chopped


Braise the short ribs

  • Preheat oven to 325. Toss the short ribs with the salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Put a large cast iron dutch oven (one that has a lid) on medium heat on the stove, and add the olive oil. Sear the short ribs on all sides.
  • Add the bone broth and herbs to the ribs, cover and place in the oven for 3 hours.

Make the soup

  • Remove the short ribs from the braising liquid and add the apple, beets, cabbage, parsnip, carrots, water, and a couple pinches of salt. Stir to combine and add the short ribs back on top. Cover and put in the oven for another 45-60 minutes, until the vegetables and short ribs are tender. Be sure to scrape the fond from the sides and add it back into the soup. Lots of flavor there.

Serve the soup

  • Put one short rib into each bowl. Stir the vinegar into the soup, then ladle the soup into each bowl with the short rib. Add the coconut cream (or regular cream if you prefer) and fresh dill. Serve while still steaming.

Borscht with Braised Beef Short Ribs

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What do you think?

  1. 5 stars
    One of the best borscht recipes I’ve tried. I just used water rather than bone stock and it worked fine. I thought it might being a seasoned Irish stew maker. Thank you for this lovely addition to my repertoire.

  2. Sarah Clawson says:

    5 stars
    Coming back to print the recipe ’cause HOLY CRAP this was amazing.

  3. Lori says:

    I made this yesterday when it was miserably cold and rainy in Austin and heating up the house with the oven on all day sounded perfect. I couldn’t find parsnips, so I just used a big white turnip and also added a peeled & diced Yukon Gold potato. The flavor was excellent and it was very filling, but it was also really fatty, which I didn’t like. I think next time, I’ll either halve the amount of short ribs and trim off the visible fat, or just use bones and/or half the amount of stew meat instead.

  4. Chelsie says:

    5 stars
    This was so good!

    I made this in two parts, making the spare ribs the day before, and finishing the soup the next day. I riffed the recipe a bit, using a mix of beef and veggie broth, equal amounts parsnip and carrot, and a couple smaller yellow beets. A great use of all my CSA veggies! The balance of flavors was phenomenal, sweet and sour and rich in all the right ways!

  5. Natalie says:

    Hi Chris – I am Ukrainian and look forward to trying this Borscht variation. Even my own family (grandparents, aunts, cousins and my Mother) made their own variations of the original recipes from my great grandmothers (different parts of Ukraine). All are delicious in their own way. Just like the many variations of pyrohy (potato dumpling, though I prefer saurkraut), holubchi (cabbage rolls, my Dad makes a seafood version to die for), paska (Easter bread, my Mom’s is better than my grandmother’s), etc. Will definitely try with the apple! Thank you!

  6. Olga says:

    Interesting adaptation but Borscht this is not. It’s missing some key ingredients which create a specific taste profile for this soup and still AIP. It’s like making marinara sauce but only using tomato and salt yet still calling it marinara. Ukrainians would laugh you out of the country for making this in the oven along with an apple. Maybe just braised beef with root veggies for the name.

    • Chris says:

      I don’t think that’s true. I remember visiting the home of an elderly woman about a 45 minute train ride outside Donetsk and she used apple in her borscht. Is she less Ukrainian for it? Hardly. Every person who makes borscht has their take on it, and there’s a lot of room for variation without condescension. I invite you to open your mind a little – you may be surprised how much you enjoy things that are different from how you think it should be done.

      • Olga says:

        As a born and raised Ukrainian, we hold our family recipes dear to our hearts. Flavor profiles are everything in any dish. Aside from the apple (verified by my father, mother, and grandmother, and a few other friends) not an ingredient in Borscht. Sorry to disappoint. You were missing a few more very specific spices and produce. The story of the old lady is sweet. I’m sure you have many memories when you were in Ukraine. She may have given you a left curve ball with the apple ???? as I’ve said, we hold family recipes dear to our hearts.

  7. Patricia says:

    My husband is lactose intolerant. What’s your view of soy sour cream like Tofutti? I’ve used that in recipes that require dairy. Never tried using coconut cream in dishes that aren’t SE Asian.

  8. Gloria says:

    As a Russian, we eat borscht all the time but wow I’ve never had it with an apple and parsnips AND it being baked in the oven! Definitely need to try this new spin on the soup???? Chris is right, everyone makes it so different! It’s yummy with kidney beans too ☺️

  9. Serhiy says:

    Not in _The_ Ukraine, just Ukraine

    • Kate says:

      Thanks for mentioning that! I’m afraid I didn’t know that either & when I Googled it after reading your comment, I found several articles that explain why leaving the “the” out was important. In 1991, Ukraine gained independence from USSR & dropped the “the” that was previously used with the name. Using the pre-independence “the” with Ukraine is incorrect & possibly hurtful. Thanks for the kind heads-up, Serhiy!

      • Luba says:

        “The” Ukraine was always a Russian thing, not a Ukrainian one. It was their way of emphasizing that Ukraine was not an actual nation, but a region of Russia. Which, of course, it is most certainly not.

    • Chris says:

      You’re right! Apologies, it’s updated.

  10. Erin says:

    Our family loves borscht. I make it every Christmas Eve. The red, green and white bowl is always so cheerful to tuck into after a busy afternoon and evening at church.

    Your version here in interesting! I love the addition of cabbage and apple.

    • Chris says:

      It’s so good! I learned about the apple from a woman whose home we visited outside Donetsk. It was my favorite version I had, and I’ve always added it since.

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