Borscht is, by far, my most favorite soup. I grew up in a small Ukrainian town, surrounded by Babas who spoiled us with homemade perogies, cabbage rolls, nalysnyky, and borsht! Perogie Suppers were a common occurrence in church basements or in the Community Hall. It was imperative that you showed up on time, otherwise it was slim pickins for you! When I moved to the big city, I was hard pressed to find a traditional Ukrainian plate anywhere. By chance, I ended up at the Highlevel Diner on a Thursday, and my wish came true. The Ukrainian Feast included handmade perogies, cabbage rolls, sausage, and borscht. YUM!
Since I don’t have a Baba of my own to show me the way, I researched a lot of recipes. There are various styles of borscht, my favorite being meatless. This recipe is chock-full of vegetables, spices, and loovvve. It will save you a lot of time and stress if you do a little prepping before hand.
When handling beets, I recommend you wear a full apron or a shirt you don’t care about. It WILL get stained. Promise. Gloves are optional, however, I feel that if you wash your hands right after prepping the beets, most, if not all, of the purple is removed. Contain your prepping to one area of your kitchen and have some paper towel ready for any #!&^% moments. I like to prep all the veggies the night before, so I can just toss everything in the pot the next day.
Beets roughly take 20-30 min to cook, so chop up the other veggies in the meantime. Peeling beets are really easy! After boiling, drain the beets into a colander and run cool water over them while rubbing. The skin should peel right off. Any stubborn spots can easily be removed by a little knife work.
- 3-4 medium beets, cooked until a fork can get to the center with some resistance, peeled and diced
- 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded or diced (I cheated and used half a bag of coleslaw mix)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1/2 of a 1.5lb pkg of baby potatoes, halved (I used The Little Potato Company's Blushing Belle variety- so creamy!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp onion flakes
- 1/2 tbsp dried dill weed
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 900mL (one carton) Campbell's No Salt Added chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut
- 2 398mL tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- sour cream
- fresh parsley or dill
- Step 1 Prepare all vegetables first. Chop chop chop.
- Step 2 Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of a 4.5 QT pot and heat to medium. Toss in the onions, carrots, beets, celery, and cabbage. Stir occasionally. Cook for several minutes until tender (not cooked through).
- Step 3 Add minced garlic, cook for about 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Step 4 Add all the spices. Stir. Add the potatoes.
- Step 5 Pour in chicken stock, tomato sauce, and sauerkraut. Give the pot a really good stir.
- Step 6 Bring the borscht to a boil, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
- Step 7 Season with S+P to taste. Top the soup off with a big dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley or dill.