Sorrel Soup is popular in Russia and Ukraine, and across Eastern Europe. It's a sour soup often eaten in the spring and summer when Sorrel is growing in the garden. It's a soup that can be eaten hot or cold. Sorrel is definitely an acquired taste, which I love.
What is Sorrel?
Sorrel is a garden herb like plant that looks like spinach, but tastes sour and tangy. It's sometimes called Spinach Dock, but doesn't taste like spinach. The sourness is due to oxalic acid. Sorrel is sometimes used in salads, soups or stews. In Greece, it's sometimes added to Spanakopita. It's hard to find in grocery stores, but many Eastern Europeans grow them in their gardens. Your local farmer's market might have some when in season. It doesn't last long in the fridge, 2-3 days max, and is best used right away.
In Russian, Sorrel is called Schavel (щавель). It's also known as Schav, taken from the Yiddish language. We call it Щавелевый суп or зеленый борщ which translates as Shchavel Soup or Green Borscht. It's like a variation of traditional red beet borscht, but instead of beets it's made with Sorrel.
How to Make Green Borscht
Green Borscht (Sorrel Soup) starts with a soup broth, I love using my Instant Pot for a nice bone broth. You ca also make this a vegetarian soup by making vegetarian stock. If making a bone broth, keep the meat from the bones to add back into the soup.
This is a simple soup recipe made with cubed potatoes, a carrot, caramelized onion, garlic and fresh herbs. The potatoes are boiled in the broth, while you fry the onions and garlic. Add the fried onions and julienned carrots to simmer for about 10 minutes. A hard boiled egg is usually served in the soup. If you want to be fancy, you can use tiny quail eggs. I love eating this sorrel soup with lots of fresh dill and a dollop of homemade Smetana Sour Cream.
Is Sorrel Good For You?
Sorrel Soup doesn't look like the tastiest of soups. It's a hard soup to photograph. The bright green sorrel turns a darker green-brown when cooked. That being said, Sorrel soup is full of vitamins. It's high in Vitamin C, is low in calories and high in fibre. Sorrel Dock has more nutrients than Spinach and Kale. It can aid digestion and boosts immunity and is high in iron.
However, eating too much isn't a good thing either. Eating excessive amounts of Sorrel can cause stomach irritation, but it's fine in soups and mixed in salads. Some people recommend to scald the sorrel with boiling water before using it. I have never done that before, nor has my mother or anyone I know in Slavic cooking. Maybe we all have iron stomachs!
- Chop the hard boiled eggs and add into the soup
- The more sorrel you add into the soup, the more sour (astringent) the soup will be
- If grating carrots, caramelize them together with the onions before adding into the soup
- Instead of hard boiled eggs, add scrambled eggs into the soup
- Use Spinach as a substitute for Sorrel, but it won't be sour or have the tang of sorrel, even if you add vinegar or lemon to compensate, it's not the same.
Sorrel Soup or Green Borscht (Зеленый борщ) is a tasty Slavic soup recipe that's full of vitamins. A simple Sorrel and Potato soup served with dill and sour cream. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Sorrel Soup (Зеленый борщ)
- 8-10 cups of soup stock
- 1 bunch of Sorrel
- 5 potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- bunch of dill
- 1 green onion stalk
- Prepare the soup stock from scratch (if not using store bought stock). If making a bone broth, set aside the meat from the bones to add back into the soup.
- Peel and cube the potatoes and boil them in the soup stock with the bay leaves. Cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
- While the potatoes are boiling, grate or julienne the carrot and set aside. Dice the onion, mince garlic and fry them in oil until they are caramelized. Add the fried onions and carrots into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Cook the hard boiled eggs until they are hard boiled, peel and cut in half, and set aside until you are ready to serve.
- Roughly chop the sorrel, finely chop the dill and green onions and add all the greens into the soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Place the lid on the pot, remove from heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream and hard boiled eggs.