Beetroot soup of Ukranian origin is extremely popular in Russia and (some countries of Eastern Europe), representing it in the world. It's quite easy to make. Hearty and healthy as it is full of vegetables, the soup can be made with meat or you can opt for a vegetarian option.
To make real borsch, however, you will definitely need beef bones and meat to make the base - broth. There are tons of recipes elsewhere how to make a good broth if you are not sure.
To make authentic Russian borsch you will need:
- 1 kg of beef (bones and meat)
- 500 g of potatoes
- 300 g of cabbage
- 400 g of beetroots
- 200 g of carrots
- 200 g of onions
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar *any vinegar will do
- 2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
Choose a big pot - 5 litres or more. Borsch is never made for one serving. It's a family meal and can be made for a week, if you wish. Borsch only tastes better the next day. But back to cooking!
Wash the meat and bones, add cold water, and put the pot on the stove on high. Leave for 1.5 hrs, skimming the surface when it starts boiling, and regulating temperature. Lower it to medium heat and simmer the meat and bones. You can add celery and onion while the broth is cooking.
When the meat is ready, cut it into cubes and add it back to broth. Add salt and pepper.
Chop the onions and grate carrots. Finely chop the cabbage, and beetroot.
Take a pan, add oil, and gently fry (almost stew) the beetroot until it's soft. Add the tomato paste and vinegar. You can also fry onions and carrots for extra flavour but it's not necessary if you are making meat version. You can add garlic too.
For a vegetarian option, simply boil the water, and stew the veggies in the pan such as beetroot, carrots and onions with tomato paste and vinegar before throwing everything in the pot with potatoes and cabbage.
While beetroot is stewing, cut potatoes into cubes and throw them into the broth. When it boils again, add chopped cabbage, boil for 10 minutes, and add beetroot. Boil for another 10 minutes. Add carrots and onions. In fact, it doesn't really matter whether you add carrots and onions first or later.
Add more salt and pepper if you wish. Boil for another 10 to 15 minutes. Let it stand for 20 minutes after switching the fire off.
Serve with parsley or dill. The soup can be eaten with sour cream and rye bread.