When my parents emigrated from the Soviet Union to the U.S. in 1975, it didn't take them long to assimilate, something they were eager to do. Among our Russian friends, they were always the most "American," whether it came to their impressive command of English or the fresh, light way we ate at home. There were a few homeland favorites, however, that Mom kept in her repertoire. Perhaps the most beloved was borscht. Eaten hot or cold, vegetarian or with shreds of beef, enriched with a dollop of sour cream and wisps of dill, the beet-based soup is the quintessence of good Eastern European cooking. Hearty yet fine-tuned, dramatic in color yet humble in its ingredients, borscht, unlike my family, remains unapologetically Russian —Gabriella Gershenson. Todd Coleman
From borscht and dumpling soups to stews and hearty grilled meats, these recipes will keep your hearts warm and fuzzy.
The recipe for this hearty, savory soup comes from Katalin Bánfalvi, author Carolyn Banfalvi’s mother-in-law, who lives in the village of Bõny, in northwestern Hungary. Hungarian sweet paprika confers a singularly deep, rich color and flavor. Get the recipe for Hungarian Goulash »
This dish of sliced beef in a sour cream sauce garnished with straw potatoes was named for the Stroganov family of Russian merchants. The inventor was plainly familiar with French cuisine (browning meat to make a pan sauce was not a Russian technique)—no surprise in a country whose wealthiest sent their chefs to train in France. The sour cream, however, is distinctly Russian. Get the recipe for Beef Stroganoff»