Borscht recipe – A hearty and flavorful Russian soup that gets it’s gorgeous color from fresh roasted beets. A classic beet soup recipe.
When my husband traveled to Russia on a business trip two years ago, he tried Borscht for the first time. He fell in love with this incredibly delicious beet soup and begged me to recreate it at home.
What Is Borscht?
Borscht is a soup commonly found in Russia and is made from beets. Borscht is typically made with beef or chicken broth and sometimes you’ll find borscht recipes made with beef and cabbage.
The consistency of borscht can be smooth and I have also seen versions made with bits of beef, beets, and other vegetables mixed throughout. The Russian borscht my husband enjoyed was smooth so when I decided to recreate the soup recipe for him, that was the version I set out to recreate.
In my search to discover exactly how borscht tasted, we visited a Polish restaurant in downtown Houston and ordered it off their menu. We found the Borscht we ordered to be very light, almost like a broth and the flavor of the beets weren’t as EJ remembered.
We also had the opportunity to try borscht from the wife of a gentleman my husband works with who also happens to be from Russia. While the Borscht she made was absolutely delicious, it wasn’t what he remembered.
So here I was, trying to create a recipe based on a memory along with suggestions of what my husband liked and didn’t like. It wasn’t an easy task, but since I’m in the business of creating recipes, I found the challenge fun.
I took the flavors he described to me from his memory and he described what he liked and didn’t like. Together we came to this very special borscht recipe.
How To Make Borscht
Since Borscht is all about the beets, I began there. In researching borscht recipes, I found that many recipes called for cooking the beets in a simmering broth. However, since I love the flavor of roasted vegetables, I chose to roast the beets instead.
Roasting the beets is simple. I scrubbed the beets, drizzled olive oil over the tops and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I wrapped each one in aluminum foil and baked the beets in the oven for about an hour. After the beets cooled, the skins peeled right off.
For the borscht soup, I cooked onions, carrots, and celery in a little oil over a medium-high heat. To the vegetables, I added peeled and diced gold potatoes to thicken the soup and to add flavor. I let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes then added chicken broth, the diced beets, a pinch of allspice, and dried thyme. While the soup simmered for about 20 minutes longer, the vegetables became soft and tender.
I used an immersion blender to smooth the soup, but a blender would have worked fine too. For additional flavor, I added red wine vinegar and a touch of honey.
The simple ingredients of this borscht soup recipe truly deliver a beet soup with colors and flavors that can not be ignored.
I’m happy to report that this version of borscht was very close to the one my husband remembered. The texture was exactly as he had hoped, not as thin as a broth yet without chunks of beets or vegetables.
The flavor of borscht is lovely and complex. The natural sweetness of the beets and carrots is perfectly balanced by the tartness of the red wine vinegar. The dollop of sour cream added to the end adds a light and delicate creaminess.
Is this version of borscht authentic? I’m not really sure. But I will say that this version is hearty and delicious and will surely satisfy when the borscht craving hits again.
- 3 - 4 large beets
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 2 carrots , chopped
- 1 stalk celery , chopped
- 3 cups gold potatoes , peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 )
- 2 cloves garlic , chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Scrub the beets and put each beet on a separate square of aluminum foil; Use 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and drizzle a little bit over each beet. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap the beets loosely with the foil.
- Transfer the wrapped beets to a baking sheet and roast for 50-60 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the beets cool so they're easier to handle.
- When the beets have cooled, the skins peel off easily. Use a knife and slice off the tip of the beet and carefully pull the skins off.
- Chop up the beets into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Put in the onions, carrots, celery and potatoes and cook, stirring until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
- Add the chicken broth and the beets and simmer until beets are completely tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the thyme and the allspice and continue simmering for another 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, a regular blender will work just fine and puree in batches.
- Blend until smooth, adding more broth if the puree is too thick.
- Stir in the vinegar and honey and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with sour cream and serve.
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