Saturday, July 10, 2010

Easy Cold Beet Soup (Borscht)

Forget that overly sweet Manischewitz borscht in a jar. This soup, made from scratch, is the real thing. And the best part is that it is really easy. It does take time (because in this case "easy" does not equal "fast") but you will have enough soup to last a few days.

When Week 8's selection included a bunch of beets for the first time, I immediately thought of borscht. I grew up on this soup but I never actually made it before. My mother came over to show me how to cook it. I got the beets out for her, walked away for a little bit to attend to something else and when I came back... Voila! The soup was done. I told you it'd be easy.

But in case you don't have someone else to make this for you, here is the recipe:

Easy Cold Beet Soup (Borscht)
(Print this recipe)

3 medium beets, stems removed
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
sugar (optional)
hard-boiled eggs, sliced
diced cucumber
sour cream

1. Wash, peel and cut the beets in half. Fill a medium pot with water and put beets in. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until they are fork tender, about 20-25 minutes. Ten or fifteen minutes into the cooking, add the potatoes so that they cook with the beets the last 10-15 minutes.

2. When the beets are tender, pull them out and cool until they are cool enough to handle. Continue cooking the potatoes in the pot.  When cool enough to handle, grate the beets on the large holes of a box grater or with the grating attachment on a food processor. Put the beets back into the soup. Cook a few minutes more, testing your potatoes. Potatoes will be done about 15-20 minutes after you put them in. Make sure not to overcook the potatoes or else they will disintegrate into the soup.

3. Add the lemon juice, salt and sugar (if desired). If adding sugar, add a teaspoon at a time, then taste and adjust as needed. Cool the soup, then refrigerate. It's even better the next day.

4. To serve, Russians typically ladle the soup into bowls and pass the eggs, cucumbers, and sour cream around so everyone can add however much they want.



  1. I always wondered how to make borscht, thanks so much for a great recipe!
    Welcome to food buzz!

  2. Thanks, Chef Dennis. There are many variations on borscht; this is a cold version. I'll probably make a hot version (with somewhat different ingredients) in the winter.