Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Russian Cabbage Borscht Soup

I have recently fallen in love with Russian food. It all started New Year's Eve. My friend and I decided to try a Russian restaurant in our neighborhood. She had been there before but not me. I looked at the menu online before going so I would have an idea of what to expect. Being the careful cook I am the sounds of all these exotic spices made my head spin. What was I getting myself into? I grew up being told that you can't say you don't like something until you try it. Well, that only worked on me until I moved out of the house. Twenty five years later I've decided its time to break out of the cooking box I've put myself into.

Back to New Year's Eve and the Russian food. I walked in and was immediately hit with this aroma of spices. We sat down and both decided what to order. I started off with a wine poached pear salad (OMG) then for my main dish had blackened salmon on top of potato filled dumplings covered in a Chardonnay cream dill sauce. Hello! My friend started off with Borscht soup followed by grilled vegetables in Southern Russian spices on top of buckwheat. We were both impressed with the food.

I went home determined to make the Borscht soup. I love beets but never know how to cook them. I searched and found a fairly simple recipe on Allrecipes.com . A quick trip to the co-op to get the ingredients then home to cook.

The soup turned out great. A little different than what I tried at the restaurant but I was okay with that. I was pleased with how well everything turned out and the wonderful smells coming from my kitchen. Here is the recipe from Allrecipes with my notes on what I did differently in bold.


  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
  • 1 cup thinly sliced beets (I used 3 small beets)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water (I used vegetable bullion cubes. Each cube made 2 cups of broth)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced (I put in 2 carrots)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup tomato puree (I omitted the tomato puree as I am not a fan - personal taste)
  • sour cream, for topping
  • chopped tomatoes, for garnish (omitted)


  1. Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium saucepan over high heat; cover with stock, and boil until vegetables are tender. Remove potatoes and beets with a slotted spoon, and reserve stock.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, and salt; cook until onions become soft and translucent. Then stir in celery, carrots, and cabbage. Mix in reserved stock; cook, covered, until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and beets to the skillet. Season with black pepper and dill weed. Stir in cider vinegar, honey, and tomato puree. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream, extra dill weed, and chopped fresh tomatoes.

What would I do differently the next time I make this soup? I would increase the stock to 6 cups instead of the four. I like my soup a little more soupy.

If you are looking to break out of that cooking box you have gotten yourself into I suggest trying this recipe. It's easy and satisfying. And as the Russians like to say: Na Zdorovie! (to your health)

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