Borscht is a soup, which is popular throughout Eastern Countries like Russia, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Armenia. The beetroot is the main ingredient of borscht recipes. Beetroot gives the soup its distinctive dark red color. Of course, there are many variants to this soup as the recipe has roots in peasant dishes of the Eastern European countries were any vegetables or pieces of meat that were available would be incorporated. It is possible to make borscht soup without beetroot, for example, there are recipes for Borscht based on tomatoes or even a green borscht made with sorrel.
Borscht is mainly made and eaten through the winter months. This soup was often made from the trimmings of vegetables.
Borscht is part of the culinary heritage of the Eastern European nations, and can be considered part of their staple diet. It is known in the USA as the recipes were brought over by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
Hot Borscht and Cold Borscht
Borscht can be eaten hot or cold. Although the hot and cold soups are made primarily from beetroot, they are prepared differently. The hot borsht contains other hearty ingredients like potatoes, carrots and meat. This makes a meal in its self.
The cold version of Borsht is made using beetroot and with sour cream and dill. Sometimes chopped salad vegetables like radishes and cucumber are added to the cold borsht, and can be garnished with boiled eggs and sour cream or yogurt.
The following are some borscht & recipe ideas.
Traditional recipe for borscht soup – vegetarian borsht recipe.
900g or 2lb fresh beetroot peeled and cut into thick strips.
The equivalent of 3 small pickled beetroots chopped into fine dice + 150ml of the pickling vinegar juice from the pickled beetroot jar.
2 large carrots peeled and cut into thick strips 2” long.
2 celery sticks, strings removed and cut into thick strips 2” long.
4 gloves of garlic crushed.
2 white onions finely sliced.
40g or 1 1/2 oz butter
4 large tomatoes peel and seeds removed and chopped into ¼” dice.
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs parsley including stalks
10 whole black peppercorns
1.2 liters or 2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Chives or dill – fresh cut into ¼” pieces with scissors.
In a large pan gently cook the onions in the butter, for 5 minutes, and then add the beetroot, carrot and celery cook this mixture for another 5 minutes, careful not to brown the vegetables.
Add the garlic and tomatoes to this mixture and cook for another 2 minutes.
Take a piece of cheese cloth and put the bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley and cloves inside and tie add this to the pan.
Add the stock and bring everything to the boil reduce the heat to a simmer cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently for about 1 hour.
Fish out the muslin bag and discard.
Stir in the chopped pickled beetroot and pickling juice.
Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with chives or dill.
Cold Borscht Recipe
4 medium beets or beetroots
1 litre or 4 cups beef or chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 cucumber – diced finely
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 cup sour cream
Give the beets or beetroots a good scrub but don’t peel.
Place in a pan and cover in cold water and bring to a boil and cook the beetroot until tender.
Once the beets are cool remove their skins and chop.
Place the beetroot back into the pan and add the onion, vinegar, stock and salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
Allow mixture to cool and blend until smooth.
Chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Serve the Borsht cold with a dollop of sour cream and diced cucumber.
Other recipes to look out for are, Polish borscht, cabbage borscht, Russian borscht and Ukrainian borscht.