A few weeks ago, my neighbor brought me over some fresh beets from her garden. There were a lot, so I knew I wanted to use some to make borscht. I immediately e-mailed my brother (who lived in Ukraine for two years on his mission) for a recipe. After translating it from Russian to English for me, he sent it my way.
There's nothing better on a cold winter day than soup, especially when it's a divine, healthy soup like this one is! (I think that gorgeous red color would be awesome for a Christmas soup don't you?)
6 liters (just over 6 quarts) of water
1 medium cabbage
3 large beets
3 medium carrots
3 medium onions
1.5 lbs potatoes
1 little bundle of parsley, chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 cans pinto beans or white navy beans (I always drain and rinse canned beans)
2 bullion cubes
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
Vegetable oil for sautéing
Black Pepper to taste
1 lb meat, cubed (optional, pork is great. I used what I had on hand at the time which was hamburger. I just browned it and threw it in at the end.)
- Put water on to boil on medium-high heat (if preparing with meat, boil the meat in water until cooked, then remove and set aside).
- Chop up the cabbage into thin strips and add to the water. Add salt. Boil for 5-10 minutes until cabbage is soft.
- While cabbage is boiling, cube the potatoes (about 1.5" cubes) and add to the pot. Add the bullion cubes.
- While the potatoes and cabbage are coming back to a boil, grate carrots and beets into separate bowls and chop the onions into very thin slices.
- Sauté the carrots in oil until they are soft (about 5 min). Add onions and sauté for about 10 min. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Without cleaning the pan, add the beets, sugar, vinegar, and some of the broth from the pot (a few cups maybe, just enough for the beets to simmer and cook). Cover with a lid, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10min or until soft.
- When the beets are soft, add the carrots and onions back to the pan. Let them sauté for a few minutes, then mix in the tomato paste. While it's sautéing, add the beans to the pot.
- Add pan contents to the pot (along with the parsley and meat-if used) and simmer for as long as you like. (I let mine simmer for at least an hour).
Serve with a spoonful of sour cream.
Recipe source: Someone in the beautiful country of Ukraine, via my brother Reese.