Borscht Recipe – Classic Beet Soup

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Borscht recipe for hearty and flavorful Russian soup that gets it’s gorgeous color from fresh roasted beets. The simple ingredients of this Borscht recipe delivers a deep red beet soup with classic flavors that stand alone.

Borscht Recipe from ZagLeft

When my husband traveled to Russia on a business trip two years ago, he tried Borscht for the first time.  Since that time, he has asked, no – he has begged me to make Borscht for him at home.

Borscht is a soup commonly found in Russia and is made from beets.  It is typically made with beef or chicken broth and sometimes you’ll find Borscht recipes made with beef and cabbage.

I’ve seen the consistency of Borscht smooth and I’ve seen it chunky, with beets, pieces of beef and other vegetables mixed throughout.  My husband enjoyed Borscht as a smooth soup when he was in Russia so when I finally decided to make Borscht for him, that was the version I set out to recreate.

In my search to find what flavors EJ liked in the Borscht he had in Russia, we visited a Polish restaurant in downtown Houston to order 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 EJ works with who also happens to be from Russia.  While the Borscht she made was absolutely delicious, it again wasn’t what EJ remembered.

Borscht Recipe from ZagLeft

So here I was, trying to create a recipe based on a memory along with suggestions of what EJ 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 the memory of the Borscht he loved and took into account the suggestions and comments he made about the Borscht we tried together and came up with 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.  Since I love the flavor of roasted vegetables and roasting vegetables in the oven brings out their sweetness and flavor, I decided to roast them instead.

Roasting the beets was so simple to do. 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 them in the oven for about an hour.  After the beets cooled, the skins peeled right off.

Borscht Recipe from ZagLeft

Borscht Recipe from ZagLeft

Borscht Recipe from ZagLeft

For the soup, I chopped onions, carrots and celery and cooked them in olive oil on a medium-high heat.  To the vegetables, I added peeled and diced gold potatoes to thicken the soup and to add a little extra flavor.  I let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes then I 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 recipe truly deliver a beet soup with colors and flavors that can not be ignored.

Borscht Recipe from ZagLeft

I’m happy to report that this version of Borscht was very close to the one EJ 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 at the end adds a light and delicate creaminess.

Is this version of Borscht authentic?  I’m not really sure.  But I will say that my version is hearty and delicious and will surely satisfy when the Borscht craving hits again.

Enjoy!

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Here are a few Borscht recipes I found while researching my recipe…

Borscht (Russion-Style Beet Soup) from An Edible Mosaic

Classic Russion Borscht Recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen

Chilled Russian Borscht from Food and Wine

Borscht Recipe from Simply Recipes

Borscht
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

Borscht, a hearty and flavorful Russian soup that gets it's gorgeous color from roasted beets.

Course: Main Dish
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Joanie Zisk
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer the wrapped beets to a baking sheet and roast for 50-60 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the beets cool so they're easier to handle.
  5. 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.
  6. Chop up the beets into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
  7. 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.
  8. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
  9. Add the chicken broth and the beets and simmer until beets are completely tender, about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the thyme and the allspice and continue simmering for another 10 minutes.
  11. 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.
  12. Blend until smooth, adding more broth if the puree is too thick.
  13. Stir in the vinegar and honey and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Top with sour cream and serve.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. The color is beautiful, but I am definitely not sure about this soup, even though I love beets! It is amazing how much work beets take to prepare. And it always looks like a crime scene when you are cooking with them. Almost like pomegranates. 😉

    • You know, I was hesitant at first. I didn’t think I’d like Borscht but it’s really delicious. Beets are so nutritious and their flavor isn’t overpowering in this recipe. Yes, beets can be messy. As I was roasting the beets and chopping them up all I could think of was how beets could be a great addition to a Halloween party.

  2. Looks so pretty. What amazing color. And I do think that roasting the beets intensifies their flavor. This sounds wonderful.

  3. Very interesting take on borscht. I never had a pureed borscht before, always chunky and with cabbage. 🙂 I love your idea of roasting the beets, will give it a try soon. 🙂

    • I found it interesting, Shinee that there were many types of borscht and ways to cook it. I loved the flavor of the roasted beets in the soup. I hope you’re able to give the recipe a try.

  4. I love beets and borscht. Funny, though, I never make it. You’re inspiring me to try it with my immersion blender, preferably on a day before I intend to clean the kitchen anyway. PS – Speaking of cleaning, our methods for roasting beets are similar – much less to clean up when you encase them in foil.

    • Thanks so much, Allie. I love roasted vegetables and roasting the beets made a huge difference, I think. It’s fun researching a recipe and trying to figure out the flavors, I think EJ enjoyed our quest to find a recipe that brought back memories of his grandmother’s recipe.

  5. Your husband and I are of like mind. I adore borscht and have made many different varieties, chunky, smooth, hot, chilled ,etc. I love them all. Definitely going to have to try yours! Thank you!

  6. I was wondering, if I don<t have AllSpice, what I could use instead? Also, I read a lot of recipes that use Dill instead. If I go with Dill, should I also use Thyme?

    • Hi Amelie,

      If you don’t have allspice, you can substitute a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves instead. Personally, I think dill is good on it’s own, but since I’ve never made borscht with dill, I can’t gurarantee it will taste great.

  7. I have not made the beet soup yet, but…did buy and roast beets per your instructions. Oh my goodness, its like a dessert. And now have learned to cook the beet greens, too…wow! I am from the south so love collards, but beet greens are even better! Now I'm looking at your new Kale salad recipe…another greens I have never tried. So taking baby steps here with food I have never eaten. Thanks to you.

    • Hi Victoria, I'm so happy you liked the beets. Roasted beets do taste like dessert, I love them! I've never tried cooking the greens though, I'm from the south as well and love collards so I'm going to have to give that a try.

      The Kale salad you mentioned is one of my favorite salads and I hope you get the chance to make it. It's a salad I love to make early in the week and enjoy it for lunch for days.

      Thanks so much for reaching out to let me know you enjoyed the recipe. Take care.

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