Ukrainian Beetroot Soup (Borshch)

Beet and Cabbage borscht in bowl
Sharon White / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
837 Calories
32g Fat
57g Carbs
81g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 837
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 12g 61%
Cholesterol 360mg 120%
Sodium 901mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 12g 44%
Protein 81g
Calcium 404mg 31%
*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.)

This recipe for Ukrainian beetroot soup, or borshch, is made with beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onion, and beets. It also includes Ukrainian caraway dumplings, which are little pirozhki (similar to pierogi), that are cooked right in the broth. This soup is excellent with them, but still delicious without if you choose not to make the dumplings.

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, not 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.

Ingredients

  • For the Beef Stock:
  • 3 pounds beef shanks or 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck on the bone (well rinsed)
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and 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 Ukrainian Caraway Dumplings (optional):
  • 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 
  • Fresh dill
  • Lemon wedges

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. Remove the stock sachet.

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

  8. 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, let cool, and then coarsely shred. Set aside.

  4. While the beets and carrots are cooling, 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.

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 and beaten egg. 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 simmering (not boiling) soup. Cover and let steam for 5 minutes. Turn dumplings over and steam another 5 minutes, covered.

Finish and Serve the Soup

  1. Add the reserved meat to the soup and heat through.

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