Borscht is a beet soup that originated in the Ukraine but has become popular in most eastern European countries, especially Russia. Russian borscht, unlike its Ukrainian counterpart, often, though not always, includes cabbage, potatoes, and meat as well as beets. Other eastern European cultures sometimes replace beets with tomatoes and add other ingredients, such as mushrooms, fermented wheat, and lovage. Eaten hot or cold, the soup is often served with sour cream, and can act either as a main course or, more typically, as an appetizer.
Russian Cabbage Borscht (Beet Soup) ¹
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
- 1 cup thinly sliced beets
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 3 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage
- black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh dill weed
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup tomato puree
- sour cream, for topping
- chopped tomatoes, for garnish
- Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium saucepan over high heat; cover with stock, and boil until vegetables are tender. Remove potatoes and beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve stock.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, and salt; cook until onions become soft and translucent. Then stir in celery, carrots, and cabbage. Mix in reserved stock; cook, covered, until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes and beets to the skillet. Season with black pepper and dill weed. Stir in cider vinegar, honey, and tomato puree. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream, extra dill weed, and chopped fresh tomatoes.
¹ Katzen, Mollie. The Moosewood Cookbook: Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, New York. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed, 1977. Print.