Heya! Today, I'm here to share with you a recipe for an amazing winter soup: borscht.
The recipe for borscht originally comes from Russia and Ukraine, where every family and region has got their own version of it, but the basis remains the same. The soup is also widely popular across Eastern Europe.
Below is my variation of it, using ingredients widely available in the UK and Europe. My recipe is definitely not authentic, but a simplified way of cooking it while keeping the good stuff in it.
Most of the ingredients are now in season and that's only one of the many reasons to cook it at home!
The root vegetables cooked in beef and pork stock with cabbage make it hearty, healthy and colorful.
Borscht can, for its richness, make a whole meal! Serve it with a slice of bread and it will keep you going for several hours.
The total cooking time is rather on the longer side, given you'll be making your own stock, but the recipe itself is fairly simple!
I highly recommend you making your own stock, because that's what this soup is about.
Good news is, you can save some time making it a day ahead! Just pop the meats in a large stock pot filled to ¾ with cold water, season and cook for 2-3hrs on low heat (it should not boil/bubble, but slowly simmer just below the actual boiling point). Once it cools down, store it in the fridge until next day.
The soup usually contains two or three types of meat. I am using beef and pork, but feel free to add some lamb if you like!
Cuts with bones are preferred, as they make better stock. However, boneless flesh will work here too.
To speed up the cooking process, I use preserved beetroot (pickled), which comes sliced and soft, therefore I add it just before finishing the soup. Although from a jar, it keeps nice flavour and its stunning color.
Feel free to use fresh beetroot, just remember to add it sooner to the stock, as it'll need to be cooked for much longer.
Alternatively, you can cook the fresh beetroot separately, cut into dices when soft and add it to the soup with the other vegetables before finishing it.
Be careful when handling beetroot, as its dark pink juices may leave stains on your clothes and furniture.
This soup can also be kept in the freezer. In an airtight container, it will keep for up to two months. Reheat it a hob on low heat, straight from frozen, stirring occasionally. Add the soured cream and fresh dill just before serving.
📖 The Recipe
Borscht - beetroot soup
- 200 g beef brisket
- 200 g pork shoulder
- 2 large carrots peeled
- 1 large parsnip peeled
- 1 onion peeled
- 250 g white cabbage finely chopped
- 1 potato peeled and cut into dices
- 200 g preserved (pickled) beetroot or 2x small fresh beetroot
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- ¼ teaspoon all spice (whole)
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns (whole)
- 2 bay leaves (dried)
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 160 g low fat soured cream
- handful fresh dill chopped
- crusty bread slice per person
- Make the stock: Add about ¾ cold water into a large stock pot, add the meats, carrots, parsnip. Season with a pinch of salt, all spice, peppercorns and bay leaves. Turn on high heat and bring to boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to medium so that is keeps simmering (just below the boiling point). Remove any foam created on top of the water level. Cook slowly for 2-3hrs until the meat is cooked and slightly softened. Keep an eye on the water and add some more if needed. Add fresh beetroot here, if using. Check when softened. Set aside once softened, leave to cool down. Cut into dices together with other vegetables and return to the soup later, as in step 6.
- In the meantime, prepare the potato, cabbage, beetroot and garlic.
- Take the carrots, parsnip, onion and meats out and set aside. Discard of the onion.
- Add chopped cabbage and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the diced potato and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Cut the cooked carrots, parsnip and meats into dices and return to the soup together with diced beetroot and minced garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Bring to boil and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve with a spoonful of soured cream and sprinkle over with fresh dill. Enjoy with a slice of bread.
This is my favorite soup. It is eaten at Christmas, but you didn’t mention Poland! It is served cooked with dry mushrooms (removed after) and with tiny dumpling stuffed with cooked pickled cabbage and dry mushrooms. I like your version too. There is also a summer version with whole young leaves of the bunched beetroots. Thank you, I love your soup.
Country Girl in London
Hi, thanks for pointing a few things out. You're right, in Poland they cook a very similar soup! 🙂 And thank you, glad to hear, it is a lighter version of it. Have a great day x
Nice! You only add the beetroot five minutes before removing from heat? It should stay crisp then?
Country Girl in London
Hello, thank you for reading! Yes adding it just before finishing to warm up, as jarred beetroot is usually cooked and very soft (sliced), so further cooking would disintergate it. If you were using fresh one, that will need to be added to the stock much earlier (whole) and then be chopped. It is good to check also the jarred one/precooked one how soft it is and add it sooner if it's not completely soft. Hope this helps. I will add a few notes to the recipe x
Thanks! I remember my mom used to cook with beets in the broth, but they were not whole, they were chopped/sliced. Indeed, the jar version is softer. 🙂
Country Girl in London
Yes, that's also a good way of doing it, chopped, sliced or grated it will cook much quicker! 🙂 glad to hear it is popular in your family! 🙂