Borscht is a classic beet-based soup with a huge geographic home range of Eastern Europe and Russia and perhaps as many recipes as there are babushkas. Nightshades (potato, tomato, and sometimes peppers) are integral to most borscht recipes out there, so a nightshade free version is hard to come by.
I think this is tasty but I’m also quite naïve where borscht is concerned. About the most I could do to authenticate it was to feed it to a few friends and run the recipe by a friend who spent a decade in Russia. Feedback is welcome!
- olive oil for sauté
- 2 cups of peeled and shredded beets (red is best)
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 4 cups vegetable broth + 6 cups water
- 2 cups peeled and diced parsnip
- 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup garlic scape (optional)
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves pressed
- 2 tablespoons Nightshire Sauce 2.0
- 1 tablespoon tamarind
- 2 cups or 1 can of cooked beans (I prefer cannelini or kidney)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon white pepper freshly ground
On serving: A squeeze of lemon
1Select a large and heavy-bottomed soup pot. On medium/high heat and add olive oil, then the grated beets. Sauté 10 minutes, adjusting heat to avoid burning and stirring periodically until beets soften. Add the cabbage and sauté another 5 minutes.
2Add broth and water. As is the case with all soup, the better the broth, the better the soup. Add bay leaves. Add parsnips, carrots, garlic scape and bring to a simmer, cooking until vegetables are approaching al dente, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
3As your vegetables simmer into each other, work on your mirepoix, what the Russians call zazharka. Place a large skillet over medium/high heat and add oil for sauté. Add chopped onion, celery, and shallot. Stir occasionally until the sauté mix is softened and lightly golden. Add Nightshire Sauce and tamarind, continuing heat briefly, then add this zazharka to the soup pot and continue simmering.
4When carrots, parsnips, and cabbage reach their desired softness, add beans, salt, pepper. (Probably more borscht includes dill than not. I am not a huge dill fan, but I’m coming around.)
5Finish with a spritz of fresh lemon juice.