Borscht is a soup or stew containing beets (beetroot), which turn the soup its characteristic maroon colour. Each region seems to have it’s own particular way of preparing it. My sister in law’s mother in Belarus first bakes her beets and then grates them (sounds lovely, too much work). At a wedding in Poland, the borscht was a broth (yum, but not very filling). My own mother would only make borscht with lamb (not sure the last time I saw lamb meat) and my mother in law thickened hers (what? No!). Even though borscht is a Slavic dish, I can’t say it’s common in Slovakia.
Edit: Oops, memory served me badly. In Belarus she boils the beets separately from the rest of the soup. When cool enough to handle she peels it, grates it, and adds it to the soup just a bit before serving so that it maintains a richer maroon colour.
I was gratified to hear my daughter exclaim at lunch, “Borscht! I love borscht, I’ll eat lots of it!” The beets give a sweet but earthy flavour, and are a great way to pack in some detox supporting/anti-inflammatory goodness. Traditionally borscht is served with sour cream, but I personally don’t much like the combination.
The recipe below is how I make borscht, but add more or less of each ingredient according to your taste! I forgot to measure each ingredient into cups after cutting it, so only the weights are provided. Also, while I used beef, any reddish meat like lamb or game will be delicious. Even pork will work. You can use water instead of stock, but it will lack some of the nutritional benefits and rich flavour. I also actually made double this, but we eat a lot here, so I halved the amount for you.
makes 3 litres/quarts
500g (1lb) beef (or other meat)
100g (3.5oz) onion (about 1 med)
250g (9oz) carrots (about 3 med)
400g (16oz) beets (about 4 med)
250g (9oz) potatoes (about 3 med) (for Paleo or AIP use white or orange sweet potatoes)
100g (3.5oz) cabbage
2 cloves garlic
2.5L (2.5quarts) bone broth or water
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
lard or other fat for searing meat
Cut the beef up into cubes. Put about a tbsp or so of fat on the bottom of a pot and heat up to high. Add the meat in batches, allowing each batch to sear/brown before adding the next. When all the meat has browned, turn the heat down and add onions, carrots, garlic, and potatoes, all peeled and chopped up. Peel beets (use gloves if you are adverse to pink stained hands) and chop, add to pot. Pour in stock/broth/liquid, add chopped cabbage, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
Leave to simmer until meat is tender, about three hours for beef or game, two for pork. Serve hot, garnished with sour cream, sauerkraut juice, or just leave plain. Enjoy!
Have you had borscht before? Do you have a special way of making it?
Shared at Fat Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Fresh Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Pennywise Platter, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Meals Friday, Fight Back Friday, Sunday Social, Gluten Free Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, AIP Recipe Roundtablem, Sunday Soups