This Beet Borscht recipe (Красный борщ) is an authentic Slavic soup recipe. If you love beets or beetroot as they say in the UK, then you need to try this beetroot soup recipe! This borscht is made like my mom makes it, like the classic recipe.
It's made without many of the strange additions and shortcuts you can find in some borscht soups today. With roots from Ukraine and Poland, it's popular in Russia, the Baltics and across Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania) Many countries having versions of this as part of their National cuisines. So you will commonly find Russian Borscht, or Ukrainian Borscht or Polish Borscht, as this soup has a place in our all shared cultural histories.
So who knew there was a controversial way to spell borscht? Well the internet is a wonderful and crazy place, with many opinions. I never knew that people could be triggered by a spelling of a word!
I've spelled this as Borscht with a T on the end, but phonetically in Russian and Ukrainian, it's pronounced and spelled Borsch. Borscht with a T is the American spelling of this recipe. In Poland it's called barszcz, Romanians call it borș rusesc, Lithuanians know it as Barščiai. Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Moldovans call it борщ. So phonetically, it's spelled Borsh, but as most of my readers are Americans, I spell it the American way!
The other borscht controversy in my video, seems to be the apparent lack of meat, when I edited the video. Relax people, this is a beef borscht recipe. I always use meaty soup bones when making the bone broth, and pick off the meat to add back into the soup. That is how we always made this recipe. You can use an Instant Pot to make a Beef Bone Broth recipe, which makes it meat super tender to pull off the bone.
Beet Borscht Variations
I've heard people added Ketchup, added brown sugar, and even balsamic vinegar, (which is Italian by the way), all added into borscht. Please don't do that. 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, pork, various vegetables and different spices. You can even throw in the beet greens for extra vitamins. There are many proper classic red beet borscht recipes out there, all having a common thread across our shared ancestry. Borscht should have great meaty soup base made from scratch, fresh vegetables including cabbage, potatoes, onion, carrots and beets. Of course all topped with fresh dill and sour cream. You can make a vegetarian version too.
The variations from this recipe are up to you, and do vary. It's been enjoyed by Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Belarusians and Eastern Europeans as a signature Slavic dish. Borscht is so popular, that it was even eaten in tubes by Soviet cosmonauts in space. This is one of my very first videos, so the quality isn't great (I'm still learning), but you will still understand how I make it all.
There are many types of Borscht recipes, including Green Borscht made with sorrel leaves, a White Borscht, and even a Chinese version of this soup. Another popular Russian soup is Shchi 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).
How to Make Borscht Soup
As I mentioned, borscht starts with a really good beef bone broth, which you save the meat from the bones. The raw beets are peeled and grated, and then caramelized with carrots and onions. The beets are the last thing you add into the soup. Bring the broth to a boil, cooking the potatoes before adding shredded cabbage. When you add the beet mixture, it's basically becomes borscht, but not before adding fresh dill. Quite an easy recipe, and you always eat borscht with the darkest rye bread you can find, with homemade sour cream.
Why Isn't My Borscht Red?
There are varying degrees of red when making Borscht Soup. As the color comes from the beets, add an extra beet for more color, especially if beets you're using are small. Not enough beets will impact the color of your soup. Caramelizing the grated beets and carrots also add a lovely red colour and flavor, so I don't recommend skipping this step.
This Borscht recipe (Красный борщ) is a family favorite, even the kids slurp up all the vegetables. It's a comfort food for them when they get sick. When we were in St Petersburg and the kids were sick, we got take away borscht for them, which was their comfort food when sick. Who needs chicken soup, this is much healthier as beets are full of health benefits.
Is Borscht healthy? Yes! Beet Borscht is a high in folate and managanese, and beets have even been known to reduce blood pressure. Beetroot has incredible health benefits. Russians love eating beets and are creative with their beet recipe ideas. Try making a Russian homemade Beet Kvass drink, Vinegret Beet Potato Salad or Svekolnik Cold Beet Soup when beets are in season. Like all Russians, I think that we all love eating beets.
Borscht is an incredibly healthy soup, full of vitamins and minerals. If you want a dish that's synonymous with Russians, Ukrainians, Poles and their food, it's gotta be tasty Borscht with dark Rye bread and homemade sour cream. Bon Appetit. Приятного аппетита!
Borscht Recipe + Video (Красный борщ)
- 14-16 cups beef stock as per recipe below
- 3 medium beets peeled and grated
- ½ small cabbage shredded
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 medium potatoes cubed
- 2 carrots grated
- 1 bay leaf
- shredded beef from soup bones
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Beef Stock for Borscht
- beef bones
- 2 celery stalks with leaves
- 2 carrots
- 1 large onion cut in half
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 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 14-16 cups prepared beef broth in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the temperature to a simmer. Add a bay leaf and 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, 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. Taste and add more vinegar and seasoning if necessary. Add dill and save some for garnish when serving. Serve with sour cream and dark rye bread.
Beef Stock for Borscht Soup
- Place beef bones, celery stalks, carrots, onion, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves into a large stock pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Allow to 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 broth 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.