What I Love – Borscht Recipe – Prairie du Sac, WI Photographer

First snow is here! Seems so sudden and unexpected. I don’t feel ready for winter yet… I believe though that everything happens when it’s supposed to so it’s probably a good thing. After a very busy fall season it’s time to slow down, refocus, think, plan for the next year and… cook more 🙂 You may not know this about me — but besides photography I have a very strong passion for natural, healthy, sustainable living. And cooking is a big part of that. We get as much as we can local, and in season. We cook almost everything from scratch. When I think about it, I actually don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen and cooking is definitely not my passion. I do it however because I know that when we eat healthy we stay healthy. When I prepare something it’s either not that time consuming or made in big batches so it lasts for a few days.

Soups are my favorite. Yes, it does take time to clean, chop and prepare everything from scratch but then we can enjoy the results for at least 3 days and freeze any leftovers for later emergency meals. All my soups are made from fresh veggies and always very thick, almost like a stew. This gives me a peace of mind that my kids get their servings of veggies. A bowl of warm, homemade soup is what they eat almost every day after coming home from school.

Living in rural Wisconsin makes it easy to find great sources of fresh, organic food. We’ve been members of a wonderful CSA farm – Roots and Shoots, LLC and this is where we get most of our veggies from, as well as fresh eggs and pastured chickens.

Cool weather is a great season for beets, a very popular vegetable in my native Poland. Here many people don’t know what to do with beets so I thought I would share a Beet Borscht recipe with you. In Poland basically any soup with beets is called borscht, the recipe below is for Ukrainian borscht. It’s a lot of chopping and dicing, but food processor helps and the results are well worth it.

Here is what came in our weekly CSA share (besides lemon and leeks), a perfect combination for beet borscht. Thank you, Heidi! 🙂 The borscht recipe follows below.


Borscht ingredients:

  • 3-4 beet roots or a bunch with leaves
  • 2-3 carrots
  • piece of cabbage
  • several celery stalks
  • 1-2 onions
  • 28oz can of tomatoes (crushed or diced, I use our frozen tomatoes that I chopped and cooked in the summer)
  • apple
  • lemon juice
  • some leafy greens (beet greens with stalks , parsley, dill or swiss chard)
  • broth or stock and water (half and half)
  • salt and pepper, maybe teaspoon of sugar
  • bay leaves (4-6 dried)
  • marjoram (2 tbs dried)
  • allspice (10-15 dried berries)

If you normally don’t use these spices (for me they are a staple for every soup) you may  buy just very little of each from bulk jars at Whole Foods Market or a local coop. Our favorite is Willy Street Coop in Madison. It will cost you just pennies.

Optional ingredients (I always add something from this list, too):

  • sweet potato
  • leeks (1-3)
  • parsnips (1-2)
  • piece of celeriac (celery root)
  • rutabaga
  • turnip
  • can of beans (any kind)

Now this is how you make borscht:

  • Chop/shred/dice everything (food processor works best)
  • SautĂ© onions and leeks in a big soup pot in some olive oil, covered, on low heat (at least 10 min)
  • Add cabbage and sautĂ© some more (covered, at least 10 minutes)
  • Add a can of tomatoes and all root veggies (chopped) and sautĂ© covered until all the veggies are a little tender. This is how it will look:

 

  • Add enough water and stock so that everything in the pot is covered and there is still room for remaining veggies, drained beans, herbs/spices, salt and pepper. I always have my own stock that I make from scratch and freeze in quart yogurt containers. But you may use store bought broth or even bullion cubes (make sure they don’t have MSG, though – it’s not good for you).
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about 10 min.
  • Add grated apple, chopped stalks and  leaves and juice from half lemon (or the whole one), simmer covered for additional 5 min and it’s done!

You may use a hand held blender several times but it’s not necessary. Borscht tastes delicious with a tablespoon of cream (and looks beautifully pink, too) I’ve heard on NPR that this is one of the most nutritious soups ever! I am not surprised, beets are extremely powerful. I truly hope that this will inspire you and you’ll find the time to try this recipe. Especially if you have had some kind of childhood trauma involving canned beets 🙂 I would love to hear back comments from your experiences. Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions – feel free to ask.

Enjoy! And stay warm 🙂

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  1. […] make sandwiches with it or eat it with some homemade soup (like this delicious and super healthy beet borscht). If you happen to have leftovers they are great warmed a little in a toaster. I encourage you to […]

  2. […] I always have some frozen broth in our freezer and use it for soups. A while ago I shared this beet borscht recipe. If you like beets and healthy soups you can use your stock for […]



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