This Russian Beet Borscht Recipe (Красный борщ) is an authentic Russian soup recipe, without many of the strange additions and shortcuts you can find in many borscht soups today. Don’t be fooled with weird additions, trying to pass off as traditional classic fresh borscht.
I’ve heard of added Ketchup, or canned beets, added brown sugar, and even balsamic vinegar,(which is Italian by the way), all added into borscht. Even a certain celebrity chef added green apples to his beet borscht recipe. I’m sorry, but that just sounds crazy. I suppose you could really throw anything you want into soups if you wanted to. That being said, it doesn’t mean you should.
There are variations across Eastern Europe that make borscht with fish, chicken, various vegetables and different spices. There are many proper classic red beet borscht recipes out there, all having a common thread across our shared ancestry. A great meaty soup base made from scratch, fresh vegetables including cabbage, potatoes, onion, carrots and beets, dill and sour cream.
The variations from this recipe are up to you and do vary, and has been enjoyed by Russians and Eastern Europeans as a signature Slavic dish. Borscht is so popular, that it was even eaten in tubes by Soviet cosmonauts in space.
There are many types of Russian borscht recipes, including Green Borscht made with sorrel leaves, a White Borscht, and even a Chinese version of this soup. Another common Russian soup is Schi Cabbage Soup, which is like a beet-free borscht. So it’s all kind of interconnected and separate at the same time, just like the politics (but this is a food blog). In Poland, this soup is called Barszcz, and in Lithuania, it’s called Barščiai, all kind of the same, with small differences.
This is my wife’s Russian Beet Borscht Recipe (Красный борщ) and she has been making it for me since we got married, almost 20 years ago. I’ve included her Beef Borscht Broth Recipe, as her broth flavours are bit different from my generic Soup Broth Recipe. It’s definitely a family favourite, even the kids slurp up the vegetables.
Caramelizing the grated beets and carrot adds such a lovely colour and flavour, so I don’t recommend skipping this step. Russian Beet Borscht Recipe (Красный борщ) is a high in folate and managanese, and beets have even been known to reduce blood pressure. I love making homemade beet Kvass because it’s so healthy!
Borscht is an incredibly healthy soup, full of vitamins and minerals. If you want a dish that’s synonymous with Russians and their food, it’s gotta be Russian Beet Borscht with dark Russian Rye bread and sour cream. Bon Appetit. Приятного аппетита!
Classic Russian Beet Borscht Recipe (Красный борщ)
- beef broth about 14-16 cups
- 3 medium beets peeled and grated
- 1/2 small cabbage shredded
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 medium potatoes cubed
- 2 carrots peeled and grated
- 2 bay leaves
- bouquet garni of 6 peppercorns 1 bay leaf, 4 cloves
- shredded beef from soup bones
- fresh dill to taste 1/4 cup chopped
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry onions until they are golden brown, set aside. Fry beets and carrots until they are caramelized, about 7-10 minutes, and set aside.
Place beef broth in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the temperature to a simmer and add the cubed potatoes, allowing to cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the shredded cabbage, and fried onions to the soup, stir and simmer for about 5 minutes
Add the fried beets and fried carrots and shredded beef to the soup, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Add the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add dill and save more for garnish when serving. Serve with sour cream and dark rye bread.
Borscht Beef Stock from Scratch Recipe
- Beef Bones
- 2 celery stalks with leaves
- 2 carrots cut in thirds
- 1 large onion cut in quarters
- 8 peppercorns
- 5 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
Place soup pot on the stove. Place beef bones, celery stalks, carrots, onion, peppercorn, cloves and bay leaves into the pot, and fill with water and bring to a boil.
When it reaches the boil, simmer on low with a semi-covered lid for about 4 hours. (the longer the better)
During the cooking process, skim off any impurities off the top while simmering.
Strain the soup into a colander over a large bowl to remove the big bones and vegetables. Pick the meat off the bones and set aside for the soup.
Using a cheesecloth (muslin), strain the soup again to remove the small impurities to make a clear broth.
Your stock is now ready to use for your soup.