October 20, 2010


DSC_0139 new This recipe can easily be tweaked based on how much soup you want to make and how much of the ingredients you want to have on hand.  The amounts included below will make a large stockpot full of soup. 


  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 large onion chopped (I used two larger spring onions from the garden and included their green tops chopped)
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 quart beef stock, or the equivalent canned
  • 6-8 large beets, peeled and sliced or chopped, clean and reserve beet greens (use 1-2 canned beets if you do not have fresh)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (this is not traditional, but I like the addition for color)
  • Small head of cabbage chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes or up to 1 quart homemade, do not drain
  • Water, if needed
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1-2 T. red wine vinegar, optional

For garnish

  • sour cream or regular cream (sour cream is traditional, though my grandmother likes regular cream better)
  • chopped dill

My family has made borscht for a long time, and it seems like every time we make it the recipe is different.  Sometimes peas are added, other times potatoes are thrown in, sometimes tomatoes are excluded.  Feel free to experiment.


Brown beef, onion, and garlic in olive oil for about 2 minutes—just long enough to caramelize.  Add stock, beets, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, and bay leaf.  If you do not mind your beet greens cooked down, which I do not, go on and throw those in as well.  Add salt and pepper (this will vary based on amount of ingredients, you can add more later).  If you need more water to cover all of the ingredients, go on and add it now.  Bring to a boil and then cover and turn down to low.  Cook on low for about 2 hours and longer if you have the time.  About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add the beet greens if you have not already done so.  Taste soup and add seasoning as needed.

Before serving soup, add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill to the bowl.  These are delicious with plain buckwheat pancakes for dipping—you know, in case you happen to have those on hand.   Enjoy!

Making vegetarian and vegan—I have had this made with vegetable stock and no beef before.  While the flavor isn’t as deep, it is still quite good.  I would suggest adding a few potatoes to the recipe to bulk it up a bit.  To make vegan substitute a soy based sour cream for the dairy version.

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