Borscht: Beetroot Soup

Borscht is a soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, giving it a deep reddish-purple color. The soup is a staple part of the local culinary heritage of many Eastern and Central European nations. The original Ukrainian name is borsch; it picked up a ‘t’ when the word was borrowed into Yiddish and became popularized as such.



738px-Ukranian_borscht1 1/2 cups steamed cubed beets (see below for instructions)

Beet greens or Swiss chard, cut in strips

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic

1 medium russet potato, cubed

1/2 cup of chopped radishes, diakon or red

1/2 cup of chopped carrots

3 cups vegetable broth

2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley and dill

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil



Trim beets of greens and roots (if any) and peel off the skin with a potato peeler. If you have the greens save them to add to the soup, but if not you can replace them with Swiss chard. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a large pot. Cover and steam over high heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add broth, carrots, radishes, potato, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the potato is just getting tender, about 8 minutes. Add beets, herbs and vinegar; return to a boil. Cover and continue cooking until the broth is deep red and the potato is very soft, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the greens and cover, let sit for another minute.

Combine sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl, serve the soup with a dollop of the horseradish sour cream.