Borscht is a real treat native to Eastern Europe that is perfect for the fall or winter. Borscht is based off of beets and cabbage, but is extremely versatile and also delicious. Borscht can contain all sorts of meat, dairy, and vegetable products. Some Hungarian borscht recipes even include cherries! Making borscht calls for a lot of work at the start, but is quite easy afterward. You’ll enjoy an entire day of borscht stewing in your house, and have a delicious soup that is low in calories and high in fullness-factor. This borscht recipe is vegetarian, because I like it the most that way, but feel free to add beef, chicken, or pork.
- 4 large beets
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 1 head of cabbage
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4th teaspoon cardamom pods
- Sour cream (to garnish)
- Scallion (to garnish)
- Parsley (to garnish)
- Chop and peel the beets, carrot, onion, cabbage, and potato. I like to make the chunk size of each of these to be about the size of half of a penny.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- Add the bay leaf, allspice, cardamom pods, and cinnamon, making sure to put them in a teabag or cheese cloth beforehand. Let them cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the beets and salt to the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the remaining chopped vegetables except for the cabbage and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and the can of tomatoes and the tomato paste. Let cook for another 20 minutes.
- Chop the garlic, and add the garlic to the broth. Add the pepper to the broth. Let it cook for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the spice bag and garlic cloves.
- Taste test the borscht to see if it’s ready. The borsht should taste rich, slightly spicy, and the broth should be slightly syrupy. Your lips should be stained slightly red from the beets. If something seems missing, add the spice packet back in and boil for another 20 minutes, tasting along the way.
- Once the taste is suitable, ladle some borscht into a serving bowl.
- Chop up some scallions and parsley.
- Shovel a hearty helping of sour cream onto the top of the borsht in the serving bowl, leaving it floating on the top.
- Garnish the sour cream glob with a few small pieces of scallion and parsley.
- Serve and enjoy the feeling of warmth and fullness that it generates in your belly.
Borscht is a great soup to feed your entire family, and it can be scaled to larger volumes easily and cheaply. Borsht also keeps very well when kept in the refrigerator or freezer, and can be served piping hot, or chilled. I prefer my borscht to be served hot, but hey, maybe with some chilling, borsht can be a summer food too!