Borscht (Beet Soup)

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Serves 8.

Borscht is a beet soup that originated in Ukraine. It is very popular in many Eastern and Central European cultures. There are many different versions of borscht; some hot, some cold. Here is a hot version of this beautiful red soup.

Adapted by Farmer Dave’s from “The Vegan Table” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

– 3 medium-size beets, plus greens
– 6 cups water or broth of your choice
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
– 5 white or yellow potatoes such as Yukon gold (3 peeled and quartered; 2 diced and peeled, if desired)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
– 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
– 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
– 1/4 cup milk, cream, or non-dairy milk
– 1 1/2 cups finely shredded red or green cabbage
– 1 tablespoon fresh dill
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
– 1 large-size bunch fresh dill, snipped with scissors

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut off skin of beets, without taking too much beet flesh. Cut peeled beets into quarters. Wash beet greens to remove any soil and roughly chop. Set aside.

Place water, salt, carrots, the 3 quartered potatoes, beets, and beet greens in a large soup pot over high heat. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a separate saute pan over medium heat, heat olive oil or melt butter. Saute onion until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

When beets are tender, about 30 minutes later, use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove them from pot, along with potatoes. Chop up half of these beets into bite-size pieces, and place the other half in a blender or food processor, along with potatoes. Add milk and blend until smooth (you can also mash them by hand). Return bite-size beets and mashed beets/potatoes back to the soup pot.

At the same time, add remaining 2 diced potatoes, shredded cabbage, dill and tomato/onion mixture to the soup pot. Simmer stew until potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon into individual serving bowls, and top with a generous amount of dill. Fresh dill is key to this dish, so don’t be stingy with it! Serve hot.