Russian Borscht

Borscht (sometimes spelled borsch) beetroot soup, is a staple of the Russian diet, and also of many central and eastern European cultures. In fact, many Russians would say that a life without borscht is a life not worth living. There are as many borscht recipes as there are cooks in Russia, and no borscht could ever taste as good as your mother’s.

Borscht is thought to have originated in Ukraine and the name appears to have come from Yiddish. It can be thick and hearty or clear and light, served hot in winter or cold in summer. Made with beef stock, this hearty version is similar to the Ukrainian type.


  • 2 qt beef stock
  • 2 C tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 C cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 C carrots, shredded
  • 1 C onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 C raw beets, cut into strips
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp vinegar


  • 1/4 C fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Sour cream


Combine beef stock, tomato sauce, cabbage, carrots and onions in a large pot and bring to boil over medium heat. Skim occasionally. Add sugar and continue to cook slowly for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add beets. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar. Continue cooking until beets are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Note: Traditionally, the soup is served in a large tureen and garnished individually with a dollop of sour cream per serving, sprinkled with chopped dill. You can experiment with other garnishes, such as julienne beets, celery or cucumber, chopped spring onions or very thinly sliced red onion rings, herbs such as curly parsley or even sliced hard-boiled eggs.

  • Cook time: 30-35 minutes
  • Makes 4-6 servings.