Borscht is a main dish soup with many different recipe variations. This is the recipe that my Ukrainian grandmother made for her family. She used a sparerib to give the broth a full flavor, however, you can easily omit that to make a vegetarian version instead. The non-negotiable ingredient here is red skin potato, which adds heartiness to and thickens this vibrant soup!
3 medium-size red beets, scrubbed clean
8 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small piece pork sparerib (about 3 ribs)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 white onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 medium-size red potatoes, scrubbed clean and chopped
¼ small green cabbage, shredded (about 1 cup shredded)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Additional chopped dill
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Prep Time: 60min | Cook Time: 35min
This step can be done up to 3 days in advance. To make the beet broth, place the beets in a Dutch oven or large pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes, until the beets are tender and can easily be pierced with a knife. Remove the beets from the broth to cool, reserving the broth. Once cool, peel the skins off of the beets; discard the skins and slice the beets into thin matchsticks. Strain the broth and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot, set over medium-high heat. Add the sparerib to the pot. Sear the meat for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside on a small plate.
Add the tomato paste, brown sugar and spices to the pot. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so, just until fragrant.
Add the reserved beet broth, stock, onion, carrots, potatoes, and sparerib – along with any juices that have accumulated – to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for approximately 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Add the cabbage, sliced beets, and dill to the pot. Simmer for an additional five minutes.
Stir in the vinegar.
Serve hot or cold with shredded pieces of the sparerib, if desired. Garnish with additional dill and a spoonful of sour cream.
To make the borscht vegetarian, omit the sparerib from the recipe. Heat the olive oil as stated, and immediately add the tomato paste and spices to toast. Follow the recipe as is from there, using vegetable stock in place of chicken stock. Feel free to add a can of drained white beans to the mix too, for extra protein!
The people in my family enjoy this soup to varying degrees of pink! Some like a dollop of sour cream added to the top of it, while others like to mix a large spoonful of it directly into the broth. I recommend starting small and adding more as you wish! Enjoy!
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