Borscht ~ Russian Beetroot Soup

Borscht is a beetroot soup of Ukrainian origin. This soup is popular in Eastern & Central European countries. Though borscht is Ukrainian in origin, it is equally popular and common in Russia. Soup can be served as it is, as I did or with some sour cream. Little mushroom onion dumplings called vushka is served with borscht.

Russian Soup, Ukrainian Soup, Beets Soup,

I followed the recipe as given but adjust the ingredients to suit my taste. I used cilantro instead of dill and used water instead of water + stock. Since I used only water, to enhance the flavor of the soup I used bouillon. I picked up a box of mini bouillon cubes few months ago. These mini cubes of bouillon are perfect size when making a small pot of soup. The recipe I followed is a speedier version of borscht recipe.

Beets Soup, Russian Soup, Ukrainian Soup

It was all pink the day I made this soup. You can see my reflection on the spoon in a pink shirt.. :)

Adapted: Natasha’s Kitchen
Cooking Time: 20 – 30 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients:
Broth:

  • 3 cups Water or 2 cups Water + 1 cup Stock (I used water)
  • ½ medium sized Red Potato or ½ cup after cutting into ¼” thick pieces
  • 1 cup thinly sliced Cabbage
  • 1 mini Bouillon Cube (I used Maggi brand chicken flavor bouillon. It is a 2.8 oz.(80g) box, 20 cubes per box)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 big Beetroot grated or almost 1 cup grated Beetroot (check notes)
  • 1 small Carrot grated or less than ½ cup grated Carrot
  • ½ small Red Onion chopped
  • ¼ Bell Pepper chopped (opt. and I did not use)
  • 1 tbsp. Oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Tomato Sauce
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. Parsley chopped (I used cilantro)
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/3 – ½ cup or ¼ can White Beans (I think the can was 15.5 oz. can)
  • 1 tbsp. Lime Juice

Preparation:

  • Prep Work – Cut all the vegetables and keep ready.
  • Peel and cut potato into ¼” thick bite size pieces. I used ½ a potato and cut that ½ potato into lengthwise and then sliced into ¼” thick pieces.
  • Drain canned beans and place it under running water. Keep the beans aside until ready to use.
  • Peel and grate carrot & beets.
  • Thinly slice cabbage and chop onion.
  • Broth – Take water into a pot and bring to boil. This would take about 5 minutes.
  • When water comes to a boil, add potatoes and cook until potatoes are almost cooked, about 5 minutes. You should be able to easily pierce the potato with a butter knife.
  • Add cabbage to potatoes and cook for another 4-5 minutes until cabbage is tender.
  • Add bouillon cube if using and turn off the heat until carrot and beets mixture is ready to use.
  • Beets & Carrots – Take oil in a 9-10” pan and sauté onion, carrots and beetroot until soft. This should take about 5 – 6 minutes or even longer. If using bell pepper, saute it along with other vegetables.
  • Add tomato paste, pepper powder, salt, cilantro and mix well until tomato paste blends well into the grated vegetable mixture, 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Putting it all together – Transfer sauteed vegetables to the pot of potato and cabbage, add lime juice, white beans, 1 bay leaf and cook for another 4-5 minutes until cabbage is very soft and it should actually be over cooked.
  • Serve with the soup in bowl and top it with dollop of sour cream.

Multi-Tasking

  • When making this soup, multi tasking can speed up the preparation. Start with boiling water to cook the potatoes.
  • When water is coming to a boil, peel and cut the potatoes.
  • Drain and run canned beans under water.
  • Grate beets and carrots. Chop onion and bell pepper if using
  • Water will come to a boil even before you finish prepping the veggies. Once water comes to a boil, add potatoes cook. Continue you with prepping the veggies.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, saute the vegetables and also thinly slice the cabbage.
  • Add cabbage to cooked potatoes and your cabbage potato broth might be ready even before you finish sauteing the veggies.
  • Once veggies are sauteed, add it to broth and finish off the soup.

Note:

  • Beetroots we get here in the super markets are small compared to the beets I have seen in India and also from the pictures in the source recipe. The beets I picked up were big but when compared to beets in other countries, these are relatively small. I listed both the cup measure of the grated beet and also size of beets I used.
  • I made a small pot of soup and I did not want to refrigerate ¼ of the beet after cutting or grating it. So I used the whole beet which was about 1 cup after grating. If one wishes, they can use only ½ – ¾ of grated beets. I did not mind one full beet in the soup at all.
  • The soup had lot of veggies in it and the quantity of vegetables that go in to the soup can be adjust to one’s preference, though I did not mind all those vegetables. It was quite filling and wholesome soup with all those veggies and beans.
  • One medium sized tomato can be substituted for tomato sauce.

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