Borscht – Russian Beet Soup
This dish is one of the staples of Russian cuisine, and it seems it has gained some popularity in the West as well. Like with most traditional recipes, there are many variations of this soup and the particular one I give here is one that is prepared within my family. I’m sure if you talk to someone else the recipe might vary quite a bit.
- About 4 quarts of water
- 1 large bone, either pork or beef (not lamb)
- 1 unpeeled onion
- 1 whole peeled carrot (can be cut into smaller piece if it doesn’t fit into the pot)
- 1 whole parsley root
- 1 unpeeled head of garlic
- 1 Coarsely chopped celery
- 1-2 coarsely chopped leeks
- Salt (to taste)
Alternatively, you can use store-bought beef broth and simply dress it up with some veggies and let it cook for a little bit.
- 1 potato, peeled, and cubed
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 large beet, peeled, and grated
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1 large, peeled, and grated carrot
- 1 chopped, parsley root (can reuse the one from the broth)
- 1 chopped celery (can ruse the one from the broth)
- 1 medium to large tomato, cubed
- 1 can of sweet peas
- Finely chopped dill
- Whole peppercorns (6-8), salt, and favorite soup seasoning
If you chose to use the store bought beef broth then skip to the actual soup part. If you chose to make your own broth from scratch, then read on.
The bone used for the broth can come from anywhere. We used the bone that came out of a large cut of pork shoulder we already used for shashlik and still had a few pieces of meat left on it. The broth is simple to make.
Wash the bone before you start, fill up a large pot with water and drop the bone in. Bring to a boil and remove any foam formed with a spoon. Add salt, the onion, carrots, parsley root, garlic, celery, and the leeks. Cook for an hour and remove the veggies.
Cook the bone for another hour and remove it. If there are significant chunks of meet still left on it, you can cut it off and add it back to the soup later.
Strain the broth through a sifter bowl to remove any small floating solids left behind
Your broth is done
Bring the broth back to a simmer and add the chopped potatoes, they take a long time to cook and therefore should be added first.
In a pan, heat up some butter and add the chopped onion. Let it start to caramelize and add the chopped beets.
Let the beets cook for several minutes, and add the tomato paste. Mix it in thoroughly and add the chopped carrots. Let this cook for several more minutes, stirring occasionally to not burn the veggies.
Once the beets start to get soft (taste them), ladle in about a cup of the broth, mix, and cover. Let the beets cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Add the contents of the pan to the pot of soup, stirring thoroughly. This is also a good time to add the parsley root and celery you saved from making the broth. Also add the peppercorns, bay leaves, the soup seasoning, and adjust the salt to taste.
Allow to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the cubed tomato, the peas, and the dill.
Cook for 10 more minutes, the tomato should become really soft and start to dissolve in the soup.
And you’re done! Serve with a spoon of sour cream.
Feel free to be creative with this recipe.