I live in a community with a high percentage of Ukrainians and beet borscht is their staple soup. I figured it was time I learned to make it. I never liked borscht growing up as a child. It wasn't until I tried my Mother-in-law's borscht that I became a convert. This recipe is based off of hers. Although, when I asked for it, it came more as a list of ingredients than a list of measurements. She's not necessarily a slave to exact amounts, but instead uses what she has on hand - something I definitely admire. Oddly enough, despite the varying ingredients and proportions that go into her soup, it always tastes the same to me - it always tastes perfect.
Borscht (makes one BIG pot)
8 cups vegetable stock or bone broth**
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 large carrots, grated
2 cups cabbage, shredded or cut fine
3 cups tomatoes (I use a combination of fresh or stewed, juice included)
3 cups beets, grated or cubed
Sea salt & Cracked pepper to taste
Splash lemon juice
2 ham hocks or chicken broth pack (neck, back & feet)
8 cups water
1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
a handful of parsnip ends
a pinch of dried celery leaf, parsley & lovage (optional)
In a large stock pot, place stock ingredients together and bring to a boil. Simmer until about 2 hours prior to wanting to eat your borscht - the longer the better. In a large frying pan, sauté onions, garlic, celery and carrots for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Strain your broth and return to the stock pot, adding sautéed ingredients, as well as cabbage and beets. Bring to a boil again and reduce to a simmer until beet cubes are tender. Add salt, pepper and a splash of lemon to taste. Enjoy!
Shanon Hilton is a mother, wife, aspiring farmer, and passionate food advocate. She writes about her thoughts on food, farming and health at www.foodfarmhealth.ca.
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