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Varieties of Borsch
As the home country of beetroot borscht, Ukraine boasts great diversity of the soup's regional variants, with virtually every district having its own recipe. Differences between particular varieties may regard the type of stock used (meat, bone, or both), the kind of meat (beef, pork, poultry, etc.), the choice of vegetables and the method of cutting and cooking them. For example, although the typical recipe calls for beef and pork, the Kiev variant uses mutton or lamb as well as beef, while in the Poltava region, the stock for borscht is cooked on poultry meat, that is, chicken, duck or goose. The use of zucchini, beans and apples is characteristic of the Chernihiv borscht; in this variant, beetroots are sautéed in vegetable oil rather than lard, and the sour taste comes solely from tomatoes and tart apples. The Lviv borscht is based on bone stock and is served with chunks of Vienna sausages.
Many regional recipes for borscht have also developed in Russian cuisine. Examples include the Moscow borscht, served with pieces of beef, ham and Vienna sausages; Siberian borscht with meatballs; and Pskov borscht with dried smelt from the local lakes. Other unique Russian variants include a monastic Lenten borscht with marinated kelp instead of cabbage and the Russian Navy borscht (flotsky borshch), the defining characteristic of which is that the vegetables are cut into square or diamond-shaped chunks rather than julienned.
As well as the thick borschts described above, Polish cuisine offers a ruby-colored beetroot bouillon known as barszcz czysty czerwony, or clear red borscht. It is made by combining strained meat-and-vegetable stock with wild mushroom broth and beet sour. In some versions, smoked meat may be used for the stock and the tartness may be obtained or enhanced by adding lemon juice, dill pickle brine, or dry red wine. It may be served either in a soup bowl or – especially at dinner parties – as a hot beverage in a twin-handled cup, with a croquette or a filled pastry on the side.