Borscht – Russian Beet Soup

Borscht - Russian Beet SoupBorscht or borsh is a reddish soup that originated from Ukraine and Russia and popular in Eastern Europe. The main ingredient is beet, a deep purple edible root of beetroot that give the soup its reddish tint. Beets are excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly folate, manganese, and potassium..

My Russian husband considers borscht at the top of his favorite list of Russian foods. I, being a Filipino, fell in love with this soup as well the first time it was introduced to me. Though at first I found it strange to stare at a red bowl of soup, I came to enjoy the smell and rich taste of this healthy soup. I prefer to eat it with a dollop of mayonnaise and love it even better when borsch has aged a day or two. Since then it has become one of our family’s favorite soups.

There are many variations to this dish. This is my husband’s recipe which I learned from countless times helping him in the kitchen. This is a scaled down version of his 20-quart (5 gallon) borscht recipe, which by the way, take us only three days to consume (yes, we love borscht that much! 🙂 )

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

Yields: 10 servings

1 lb lean beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pc medium beet
2 pcs medium potatoes
2 pcs medium carrots
1 pc medium bell pepper
2 cups button mushroom
1 medium onion
½ medium cabbage head
1 bay leaf
½ stick butter (or ¼ cup)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh chopped dill or 1 tsp dried dill

Things You Need:
5.5 quart stock pot
Chopping board
Prep bowls

1. Fill pot with water up to ¾ full. Add meat and bay leaf. Turn on stove and set to boil.

DSC_03562. Once pot boils, turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes to soften meat. Remove scum that rises to the top.

DSC_03723. While pot is simmering, cut vegetables like this.

borscht ingredients4. Check meat by piercing with a knife or fork. You should be able to cut or pierce the meat easily. When this is the case, add potatoes, carrots, and beet into the pot. You’ll immediately see the water changing to reddish color from the beets. Add salt, pepper, and dill as well. Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring the pot occasionally.

DSC_03895. Meanwhile, heat a skillet/shallow pan and add butter and chopped onions.

6. Fry onions. About halfway cooking, add tomato paste. When onions turns golden brown, turn off stove and set aside.

DSC_04097. Check vegetables for doneness. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and cook for two minutes.
8. Add browned onions and cabbage, then cook for another 2 minutes until the cabbage has wilted. Adjust seasonings if needed.
9. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or mayonnaise.