I haven’t actually eaten Borscht on any of my travels yet – I need to go a bit further east in my upcoming trips. But I had some beetroot and various vegetables in my fridge that I needed to use up, and I had heard about this Ukrainian soup and wanted to try it!
The beetroot borscht was invented in what is now Ukraine, and there are other varieties that do not use beetroot at all. The soup is traditionally made using beef bones and fermented beet juice but I’ve taken a few liberties here. I used beef stock, mainly due to lack of time. You can also be flexible with the vegetables; the first time I made this I omitted the potato and used leek instead of celery and onion.. maybe not very traditional but still delicious. And it’s nice to be able to use up what I already had in the fridge!
1 tbsp. oil or butter
2-3 medium beetroot (roughly 400g)
1 large carrot
1 celery stick
1 large potato
2 cloves of garlic
1.5 litres beef stock
1 large tomato
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 green cabbage
1 tbsp. vinegar – I prefer balsamic or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Crème fraîche or sour cream – to serve
Peel and dice the beetroot, carrot, celery, potato and onion into small pieces, all roughly the same size. Finely dice the garlic. I often peel and cut my beetroot under a trickle of running water to prevent stains on my hands – if anyone has any other tips, let me know!
Heat the oil in a large pot, and once hot, add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables are well combined. Add the beef stock, and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Thinly slice the cabbage, and chop up the tomato – add into the pot along with the tomato paste. Simmer, covered, for up to an hour, until all vegetables are soft. Taste, and season more if required.
Serve in a large bowl with a dollop of crème fraîche and try not to spill on any white carpets!