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Polish Beet Soup, Barszcz or Borscht, is an easy and delicious vegetable-packed soup that is bright in color and flavor! Your family will love this sweet and sour soup.
You will love this Borscht Soup
My dad has raved about his mother’s Polish Beet Soup (Barszcz or Borscht) for as long as I could remember. I, unfortunately, never had the opportunity to taste it, but I have been using my dad’s palate and memory to try and recreate her Polish Beet Soup.
After years of trying, my dad says I’ve got it! Over the years, I’ve tried different broths—vegetable, beef, and beef bone broth—and have found that the beef bone broth gives the best flavor.
It helps richen and elevate this simple soup into a meal itself! I like to serve it with some nice crusty bread and a simple green salad.
I’ve also experimented with the vegetable that the soup is cooked with: I’ve drained the vegetables from the soup right before serving, pureed them in the soup with an immersion blender, and just left them in the soup as is. Personally, I like to leave them in the soup as is. It’s simpler this way, and the veggies make the soup a bit more substantial.
Eating Barszcz makes me happy. The color is beautiful, and the soup warms me to my Polish core.
Do be careful while eating the soup, though, because little droplets of beet soup are hard stains to remove from clothing and tablecloths (trust me, I know from experience).
What is Borscht?
Borscht is a hearty, sour soup originating in Eastern Europe, particularly in Ukraine, Russia, and Poland. Make it with beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and beef or pork broth. It’s typically served hot with a dollop of sour cream.
Borscht Recipe ingredients
- yellow onion
- garlic cloves
- beef bone broth
- celery stalks
- bay leaves
- caraway seeds
- apple cider vinegar
- granulated sugar
- ground black pepper
- sour cream
- fresh chopped dill
Cook’s Tools – Beet Soup
- large heavy-bottomed pot
How to make Borscht Soup
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Slowly add the beef bone broth while scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add beets, carrots, celery, bay leaves, caraway seeds, and allspice.
- Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaves.
- Add in the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve with sour cream and fresh chopped dill (optional).
Cook’s Note – Polish Beet Soup:
- If you prefer your beet soup to be more of a broth, drain the vegetables from the soup right before serving. I personally don’t because I think the soup is delicious with the vegetables in it.
- If you cannot find beef bone broth, then use beef stock.
- I know it’s not exactly authentic, but sometimes I throw in some stew meat while the onions cook in step 1 of the recipe below.
How to serve this Beet Soup Recipe
Serve beet soup hot or cold. Enjoy it as a starter, main course, or light lunch. Traditionally, it’s served with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche. It can also be garnished with fresh dill, chopped green onions, or a sprinkle of paprika.
How to store Polish Beet Soup
Beet soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To store beet soup in the refrigerator:
- Let the soup cool completely to room temperature.
- Transfer the soup to an airtight container.
- Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To store beet soup in the freezer:
- Let the soup cool completely to room temperature.
- Transfer the soup to freezer-safe containers.
- Leave about an inch of headspace at the top of the containers to allow for expansion.
- Freeze the soup for up to 3 months.
Borscht Soup Recipe FAQs
You can eat borscht, both hot or cold. The type of borscht determines whether it is served hot or cold.
Hot borscht: This is the most common type of borscht. It is made with beef or pork broth, vegetables, and beets. Hot borscht is typically served with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.
Cold borscht: This type of borscht is made with kefir, beets, vegetables, and herbs. It is typically served with a garnish of chopped hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, and dill.
Whether or not you should peel beets for soup depends on the type of soup you are making.
For hot borscht: You do not need to peel beets for hot borscht. The skins will soften during cooking and can be easily removed after the beets have cooled. Peeling the beets after they have cooled is also easier than peeling them raw, as the skin will be more pliable.
For cold borscht: You may want to peel beets for cold borscht, as the skins can be a bit tough when eaten raw. However, if you do not mind the skins’ texture, you can leave them on.
Yes, borscht is considered a healthy soup. It is packed with nutrients from the vegetables, meat, and broth. Beets, in particular, are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, manganese, and folate.
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Do you have a family recipe for beet soup, Barszcz, or Borscht? Leave me a comment below; I’d love to hear how you prepare it!
Borscht Soup Recipe
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 5 large garlic cloves minced
- 6 cups beef bone broth or beef stock
- 5 medium beets peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 large carrots cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 2 celery stalks chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- salt to taste
- ground black peppers to taste
- Sour cream
- Fresh chopped dill
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the foaming subsides, add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Slowly add in the beef bone broth while scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in the beets, carrots, celery, bay leaves, caraway seeds, and allspice. Bring the mixture to a low boil, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaves. Add in the vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve with sour cream and fresh chopped dill (both optional).