Before I begin with the recipe, I do admit to the Russian name of the soup not having a “t” at the end. But this is in English, so we will stick with Borscht. Now, I have grown up eating this hearty, ruby red soup prepared lovingly by my Dad. In fact, I just ate a bowl at my parents’ house tonight, and it was as usual, the best. But sometimes, I want to make borscht at home, and this is my quick, one-pot version of my dad’s recipe.
The are numerous of recipes for borscht out there, with each family using their own particular technique and a set of ingredients. But for the most part, there are a few must-have ingredients: beets, cabbage, and carrots. The rest? It’s up to you! I was out of potatoes, but normally would put those in as well. Celery, celery root, and even zucchini are great additions to the soup.
Borscht ~ Russian Vegetarian Beet Soup
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 beets, peeled and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 carrots, diced
4-6 cups of water (can substitute vegetable broth or chicken/beef stock for a non-vegetarian version)
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1-2 teaspoons of sugar
Serve with: Russian black bread, dill, sour cream
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add beets to the onion and cook for another ten minutes.
3. Add garlic and carrots and cook for another five minutes. At this point, you can also add a few tablespoons of tomato paste.
4. Pour in water (or stock), making sure the vegetables are covered by a few inches. Bring to a boil. If you were using potatoes, you’d add them now, and cook half way through.
5. Lower the heat to medium and stir in cabbage. Cook just until the cabbage is wilted.
6. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and sugar.
Soup is ready! Add a dollop of sour cream and freshly chopped herbs (dill, parsley, even cilantro). I often serve it with fresh grated garlic for an extra kick and a dash of hot sauce.
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