Sample Andrei’s Russian Home Cooking at Winter Wineland

This past week, Chef Andrei Litvinenko celebrated Russian Christmas with his family. He’s bringing a few of his favorite traditional Russian dishes to Winter Wineland this weekend. If you’re in town, stop by the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center or the Healdsburg tasting room to say hello! — Justin

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th (in accordance with the old Julian calendar). So this past weekend, I gathered with my family to celebrate the holiday with solemn ritual and joyous celebration. On the Eve of Christmas, we gather to share a special meal. Customs differ from family to family, but many traditional dishes are included, such as: Holodets (pork head cheese), marinated eggplant, eggplant caviar, marinated mushrooms, caviar, deviled eggs with caviar, smoked salmon, salted herring, chicken roulade, ham, assorted roasted meats (including goose, duck, beef and pork), Xvorost (a crispy pastry), Napoleon. And, of course, vodka!

It’s quite a feast, to say the least. Our family celebration inspired me to share a few traditional dishes at the upcoming Winter Wineland event – January 15th & 16th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will be serving two of my favorite Russian comfort foods that I learned to cook from my mother as a boy: Solianka (pork and cabbage stew) and Borscht (beef and beet soup) are both perfect for the cold days of winter. Please come out and join us for this fun event and try our wine and food pairings.

Serve with Kendall-Jackson Highlands Estates Alisos Hills Syrah
Recipe by Chef Andrei Litvinenko  | Serves 8

  • ¼ C. olive oil
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into rounds
  • 1½ lbs. pork shoulder, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 head cabbage, large dice
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 C. tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 C. chicken stock
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Chives, for garnish


  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the oil and sausage.  Sauté the sausage until golden, approximately 4 minutes.  Remove sausage from pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Add pork to pan, season with salt and pepper and sauté until golden, approximately 4 minutes. Remove pork with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  3. Add onion and garlic to pan, season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and cook slowly until onions are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add cabbage, reserved sausage and pork shoulder, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar and chicken stock.  Stir to combine.
  5. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until cabbage is tender, approximately 20 minutes.  Season to taste and garnish with sour cream and chives.

Borscht: A Traditional Russian Soup
Red Beets, Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs, Russet Potatoes and Cabbage
with Horseradish Sour Cream
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Seco Highlands Pinot Noir

Winter is here and what better way to warm the soul than a big bowl of delicious hot soup. This hearty beet and beef soup is a classic Russian comfort food that is especially satisfying when paired with our Pinot Noir.  The beets help bring out the red fruit flavors in the wine, as the firm tannins are balanced by rich slow cooked short ribs and horseradish sour cream.
Recipe by Chef Andrei Litvinenko  | Makes approximately 1 gallon

For the beet base:

  • 2 cups red beets (tops and skin removed), grated
  • 1 cup yellow onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups spicy V8 juice


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until beets and onions are very tender. Stir often to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat and reserve.

For the beef broth:

  • 3 lbs. beef short ribs (with bone)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 3 quarts chicken stock


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1½ hrs or until short ribs are tender.  Skim the surface of the broth as needed to remove any impurities and/or excess fat.  Strain the broth and reserve.
  2. Process the short ribs, removing any excess fat, gristle and bone.  Set aside the cleaned meat and discard the remaining vegetables and herbs.  Dice the meat into ¾-inch pieces and reserve.

For the horseradish sour cream:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish


  1. Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Chill until ready to use.

For the soup:

  • 3 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup celery, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, core removed and cut into 1-inch squares
  • ¼ cup fresh parley leaves, chopped


  1. Bring strained and defatted beef broth to a boil.  Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Add cabbage and cook another 10 minutes.  Add diced short ribs and bring back to a simmer.  Skim the soup to remove any impurities and/or excess fat.  Stir in the beet mixture and remove from heat.
  3. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  The soup will be much more flavorful if eaten the next day but can be enjoyed immediately.
  4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of horseradish sour cream and a teaspoon of fresh chopped parsley.

    Chef Andrei Litvinenko is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. He was born and raised in San Francisco in a Russian immigrant family. He grew up working in the family restaurant where he learned to appreciate eastern European cuisine, and grew to love cooking.