My son JDawg is responsible for this week’s borscht recipe. He recently asked for my recipe and I realized I hadn’t made it since our daughter, Emily, was still living at home. She is the child who took many of years of German in school and loves to eat the traditional German foods. But it had been a LOT of years, and it was time to firm up my favorite beet recipe. My mother, being full-blooded German, makes borscht, but I’m not sure whether this is her recipe or not (sorry Mom!). I’m using the recipe I had saved in my cookbook program.
My P.S. brought home beets and in a later trip we brought home the cabbage I’d forgotten was in the soup. I told you it has been awhile! He’d already brought home the beef bones for making stock and I’d done that one evening after dinner and explained it in this post on making stock.
When I was ready to make the borscht, I removed the thin layer of fat that had hardened on top of the stock and discarded it. I poured the stock back into the large soup pot and set it on the stove at medium high to bring it to a bubble.
Meanwhile, I peeled and diced about 5 potatoes, then sliced up 4 ribs of celery. I finely diced a large yellow onion, sliced up 7 large carrots, and peeled and diced 3 beets.
All the veggies went into the kettle, along with a bay leaf, garlic powder, dillweed, and salt. When the pot came to a boil, I turned it down to medium low and let it bubble gently for about 30 minutes, until the carrots and beets were fork tender.
I had about 4 cups of thinly sliced cabbage waiting, and put it into the soup pot along with the lemon juice. I let the pot come to a bubbling boil again then turned off the heat. I tested it for seasoning then added ½ teaspoon black pepper and another teaspoon of salt. It was ready to serve.
I ladled the soup into flat bowls and served it with a bit of sour cream. We were having a Meatless Monday (besides the homemade beef broth) so I served the soup with some amazing grilled cheese sandwiches that I must post another time.
We loved the soup of course; we always do, no matter what recipe is used. I love the earthy flavor that beets and carrots give to the soup and the way the dill compliments it all. I’d cut back on bay leaf and only used a half of a dried leaf, as the last jar I’d bought seemed way more flavorful than usual. I’d made some chicken soup that had an overpowering amount of bay leaf flavor from just one leaf. Half a leaf seemed perfect for the borscht, however.
I have a huge pot of leftover borscht which is never a problem around here. I shall call JDawg and tell him to come and get it! And hand him the printed recipe. I think he’d wanted to make it on his own, and here was his chance to first try it, then try to replicate it. He’s a pretty good cook, he’ll probably do fine.
2-3 quarts of beef broth (I used a little over 3)
2 cups carrots; sliced (I used 7 large carrots)
2 cups celery; sliced (I used 4 ribs)
1 large onion; finely diced
3 cups beets; peeled and diced
8 cups cabbage; thinly shredded
4 cups potatoes; peeled and diced (about 5 large potatoes)
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dill weed (dried)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice, or to taste
sour cream and dill or chives to garnish
Put beef bones into a 9×13 pan and and roast in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes, turning once. Remove bones and put into a large soup kettle with 4-5 quarts of water.
Put 2 cups of water into the 9×13 pan and put it on the stove on medium. Stir and scrape the caramelized bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. When done, pour the juice into the soup kettle. Simmer on medium low heat, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. Strain and refrigerate. When cold, skim hardened fat from the top and discard.
Put 3 quarts of broth into a large kettle. Add carrots, celery, potatoes, onion and beets to the kettle. Add bay leaf, garlic powder, dill and salt and simmer until the carrots are fork tender.
Add cabbage and lemon juice, stir. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.
Serve hot or cold with sour cream and dill or chives to garnish.