An excellent way of using up root vegetables, Borscht is a sweet and vibrantly pink soup. In their very popular article "The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating," The New York Times listed beets as number 1 thanks to all their lovely folates and antioxidants. I admit they recommend eating them raw for maximum nutrition -- but they're still plenty healthy cooked. Plus, when you stir a bloop of sour cream into it, it turns almost fluorescently pink.
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 fist-sized beets, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
2 fist-sized potatoes (we like Yukon gold for this), peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
4 cups chicken broth (1 32-ounce box) or use the same amount of water but add 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
1 large celery stalk, peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
½ of a green cabbage, finely shredded (3-4 cups)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
2 tablespoons each honey and cider vinegar
sour cream and (optional) fresh dill for serving
- Begin by bringing the beets, potatoes, and broth (or salted water) to a boil in a medium pot over medium heat. Cover the pot, turn the heat down, and simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients--around 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a wide soup pot over medium-low heat and cook the onion until translucent, around five minutes. Add the caraway to the onions (optional).
- Add the rest of the vegetables with a teaspoon of kosher salt and sauté for 5 or so minutes until the cabbage is well wilted, then pour in the beets and potatoes with their cooking liquid, the tomatoes, the honey and cider vinegar, and 1 or 2 cups of water -- just enough to submerge all the ingredients in liquid. Bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are very tender.
- Puree about half the soup with a stick blender (or do this verrrry carefully in a regular blender, and then stir it back in -- or skip pureeing it altogether), then taste for salt, sweet, and tart: add more salt, honey, or vinegar in tiny increments as needed to make the soup lively-tasting and good.
- Serve each bowl topped with a spoonful of sour cream, and a snip of dill if you've got it.