Ukrainian Beetroot Borshch

Beet and Cabbage borscht in bowl
Sharon White / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 5 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
733 Calories
16g Fat
59g Carbs
86g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 733
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 209mg 70%
Sodium 609mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Dietary Fiber 7g 23%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 86g
Vitamin C 20mg 102%
Calcium 263mg 20%
Iron 12mg 68%
Potassium 2093mg 45%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Borshch is a well-known soup in Eastern Europe and can take many forms. Some vegetarian versions just use the flavorful veggies for a bright and fresh taste, but other heartier versions use meat and bone stock, and sometimes chicken or fish. This recipe for beetroot soup, or borshch, has beef and fluffy Ukrainian caraway pirozhki dumplings, similar to pierogi, that are cooked right in the broth. Although the dish is excellent with them it is still a delicious filling meal without.

Filled with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and of course beets in addition to the tasty beef shank meat, this borshch needs close to two and a half hours total to be prepared and cooked. The best way of starting this meal is to have all the ingredients ready. This recipe has many ingredients that need to be peeled and/or chopped; if your mise en place is organized, the recipe will be a success. Keep in mind that the beef stock needs a stock sachet, so your list of ingredients should also include parsley stems, black peppercorns, fresh thyme, and bay leaves.

Serve the soup with sour cream, fresh dill, and lemon wedges to taste. Don't forget abundant slices of any bread of your liking on the table, as this is the classic way of eating this wonderful dish.

Ingredients

For the Beef Stock:

  • 3 pounds beef shanks, or 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck on the bone

  • 8 cups water, plus more as needed

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped

  • 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped

  • 1 stock sachet

For the Soup:

  • 1 pound beets, trimmed and peeled

  • 3 large carrots, trimmed and peeled

  • 1/4 large cabbage, shredded

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 large onions, diced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

For the Optional Ukrainian Caraway Dumplings:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • Black pepper, to taste

For Serving:

  • Sour cream, to taste

  • Fresh dill, to taste

  • Lemon wedges, to taste

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps in this recipe, the beetroot soup is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Beef Stock

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a stockpot over medium heat, combine the beef and water.

  3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Continue to skim the top surface to remove any impurities.

  4. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Tie the stock sachet to the pot handle and drop it into the pot.

  5. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until meat falls off the bone, adding water as needed to cover.

  6. Transfer the beef to a bowl and pull the meat off the bones. Chop it into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

  7. Strain the stock into a clean stockpot, pressing on the vegetables to obtain maximum flavor. Discard the vegetables.

Make the Soup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the beets and carrots to the beef stock and cook, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.

  3. Remove the vegetables from the broth, allow them to cool until easy to handle, and then coarsely shred. Set aside.

  4. Add the cabbage, potatoes, and onion to the broth. Bring back to a boil and then simmer 20 minutes, covered, or until tender.

  5. Add the shredded beets and carrots, tomato paste, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. If serving with caraway dumplings, drop the batter into the soup at this point—they need a total of 10 minutes of cooking.

Make the Caraway Dumplings

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and caraway seeds.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, beaten egg, and pepper to taste. Add to the flour mixture and blend with a fork until a stiff, sticky batter forms.

  4. Using a tablespoon or a small cookie scoop, transfer the batter to the simmering soup, not boiling. Cover and let steam for 5 minutes. Turn dumplings over and steam another 5 minutes, covered.

Serve the Soup

  1. Add the reserved meat to the soup and heat through, or around 5 minutes.

  2. Serve the borshch in warmed bowls with a dollop of sour cream, fresh dill, and a lemon wedge, if desired.

  3. Enjoy!

Borsch or Borscht? Svekoljnik?

Contrary to popular belief, Ukrainians don't spell their beetroot soup borscht— that's a Yiddish spelling—nor are beets the predominant ingredient. In fact, this stew-like soup is orange from the carrots and tomato paste, and is not of a purple-red color. The Polish version, called barszcz, has the ruby-red color most people associate with beet soup. Russians call their cold beet soup svekoljnik, which is very red in color. In Ukraine, beet soup is made in infinite varieties, but some resemble the Russian version and are also called borshch.