This soul warming beet soup is hearty, nourishing and full of flavor! Serve your veggie-packed borscht with a heaping spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill to complete the dish!
Borscht (which is actually pronounced borsch without the ‘t’ in Russian) is incredibly popular across many Eastern European countries, but actually has its roots in Ukraine. And while there are many regional variations of the delicious beet soup, this is our favorite version and closest in taste to the one Viktor’s babushka used to make. This recipe makes quite a huge pot, so invite your favorite people for dinner or get ready to eat borscht for days (like we did)!
A lot of borscht recipes in Russia and Ukraine are made by first simmering the meat (and sometimes bones) in water to create a delicious broth. The vegetables are then sauteed separately and later added to the broth to complete the soup. Here we’re all about a one-pot meal so our recipe uses a slightly different approach without compromising on flavor.
We first brown the beef in our soup pot to develop a nice depth of flavor and then set it aside while we add the rest of the ingredients. We then add the beef back with about 8 cups (2 liters) of liquid. We find that using half beef broth and half water gives the soup a nice rich flavor, while letting the beets and other veggies really shine. But really any broth would be great in this soup, especially bone broth or homemade chicken stock.
And if you prefer to make borscht without meat, but still want a little extra protein, try tossing in a can of beans. A lot of borscht recipes call for cannellini, kidney or even lima beans so feel free to switch it up a bit!
preparing the veggies
A hot bowl of borscht is not only warming and comforting, it’s also incredibly nourishing and packed with nutrients from the variety of vegetables used! In addition to beets, this soup also features carrots, cabbage and even a few potatoes!
The first veggies you’ll add to the pot are sliced onions and carrots. We like to julienne the carrots, which just means cutting them into long, thin strips. You don’t have to be too precise here — if some are a little chunkier or oddly shaped, your soup will still turn out just fine! And just one note about cooking the onions and carrots: this soup tastes best if you give them some time (15-20 minutes) and let the veggies caramelize a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Next up are the beets and cabbage. The cabbage should be thinly shredded and the beets need to be peeled and then chopped into strips like the carrots. A few tips for working with beets? We like to wear gloves to avoid stained hands. And a layer of parchment paper will help save your cutting boards from looking like a crime scene.
And finally the potatoes! The potatoes here are optional, but we always like a little extra heartiness for cold winter evenings. If you’d like to use them, just peel and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add them during the last 20 minutes of cooking so that they don’t get overly mushy.
the finishing touches!
And of course, we always stir in a spoonful of sour cream and add a sprinkling of fresh dill to each bowl of borscht. Both are optional, but highly recommended. The sour cream can be stirred into each individual bowl to taste and provides just a touch of creaminess. And the dill gives the earthy soup a bit of light freshness!
And what should you serve with borscht? We generally don’t serve borscht with anything else — you’ve got your veggies, starches and meat all in one bowl! But if you’d like to add a little something extra, a bit of rye bread or some pampushky (which are similar to dinner rolls) would be a great addition.
And if you liked our beef borscht, here’s some more Russian and Ukrainian recipe inspiration:
- Pampushky – Ukrainian Garlic Rolls
- Russian Pelmeni (Meat Dumplings)
- Russian Honey Cake Medovik
- Sharlotka Apple Cake
- Cranberry Mors Drink
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