What are you eating? What is that red stuff? That stuff looks like blood! Those are the questions and comments I have received from co-workers (and students) when I brought in borscht leftovers for lunch. I have to admit it does look a little intense, but I love the flavor.
So what is borscht anyway? According to Wikipedia borscht is a soup of Ukranian origin with beetroots as the main ingredient. I had it for the first time in St. Petersburg, Russia while visiting my brother. I fell in love with borscht’s warm broth and vibrant flavors after hours of exploring St. Petersburg’s historical sights. Ever since our trip, Rich and I have made it regularly. This is my first cold borsht recipe.
This is a great summer recipe because it is light and refreshing. One of the things I love most about borscht is the dill. Dill is such an underused herb and I really enjoy its fresh flavor. Now that I’m growing it in my herb garden, I’m even more excited to cook with it.
This is really a unique soup. I mean, when else do you put yogurt in soup? Even though it sounds weird, the dollop of yogurt at the end (you can use vegan or regular here) thickens the consistency and gives the soup a creamy texture.
This recipe is extra relevant for me right now too because I’m reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I imagine characters like Prince Vassily and Princess Marya enjoying warm borscht at dinner. I’m loving this book by the way and highly recommend it. It’s a good summer read because, at about 1300 pages its pretty long!
If you try this recipe, let me know how it comes out!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions
- 5 beets (I used 1 large beet and 4 medium beets. Beets really vary in size so adjust accordingly).
- 1 medium parsnip
- 1 potato
- 1 32 oz container of vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry dill
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- the juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
- several sprouts of fresh dill (I used about 1 sprout per bowl)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of vegan yogurt
- Chop onions and saute in a olive oil for about 20 minutes or until they start to caramelize.
- While the onions are cooking, cut up beets, parsnip, and potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
- Place them in a large pot, add the bay leaves, and cover with vegetable broth.
- Bring the pot to a boil. After 10 minutes add sugar, pepper, and dry dill.
- Let it boil for about 10 more minutes, add the sauteed onions, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice to the pot.
- Allow to simmer for 10 more minutes or until the vegetables are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Set aside to cool (for about 1 hour).
- Use an immersion blender to mix all of the ingredients until there are not pieces of vegetables left.
- Place the entire pot into the fridge and let cool for at least 5 hours.
- Serve the soup with fresh chopped dill, a dollop of vegan yogurt, and some fresh ground pepper.