Our Beef Borscht recipe may change the way you think about beets – for the better! Borscht is one of those dishes that I honestly thought I wouldn’t like. When I was first introduced to the dish as a kid, the idea of a soup made out of beets just didn’t appeal – at all.
This was partly due to the bright red color (which now I love). But I think it mostly because my introduction to beets was those canned beets that you find at salad bars. But when first I tasted beef borscht I loved it! Fresh roasted beets taste SO much different than those canned ones.
In this version the beets are roasted in advance, which caramelizes them and bring out the sweetness. The addition of beef or pork adds another level of flavor. Finally, the addition of sour cream or Greek yogurt adds a creamy element that takes the soup over the top.
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Our recipe calls for Ajvar, a thick roasted red pepper and eggplant sauce. It’s very common ingredient in the Slavic countries where the recipe originated. Ajvar can be found in the international section of some grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, just substitute either red pepper or tomato paste in your beef borscht.
If you are a serious beet lover and want to increase the intensity of the beet flavor in your borscht, add some raw fresh grated beets at the same time the red cabbage is added during the cooking process. And if you want to make a vegetarian version, just omit the meat and use vegetable stock or vegetable bouillon cubes instead.
If you are a fan of international foods, head over to our International Recipes section and to view our full collection of recipes inspired by our ongoing travels around the world.
Here are some related soup recipes that you might enjoy!
- 1 Pound (500 g) Lean Chuck Beef or Pork, but into 1/2" cubes
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 2 Bouillon Cubes (beef, chicken or vegetable)
- 2 Large beets
- 3 Carrots
- 2 Stalks Celery, diced
- 2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 Medium Head of Red Cabbage, cored and shredded
- 2 Tablespoons Ajvar Sauce, substitute with Tomato Paste or Red Pepper Paste if unavailable
- 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Quarts (2 liters) Water
- Fresh Dill and Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream as a garnish
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Add the beef (or pork) cubes and brown on all sides.
- Drain the fat and add the browned meat to a stock pot.
- Add the onions to the frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to saute until the onions are translucent.
- Add the onions and garlic to the stock pot along with the water and bouillon cubes. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
- Continue to simmer until the meat is fork tender (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours)
- While the meat is simmering, prepare the other vegetables.
- Peel the carrots and place them in a baking dish.
- Cut the beets into quarters.
- Add them to the baking dish, coat with olive oil and then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Roast in a 350° F (175° C) oven until soft (35 minutes to 45 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- When they are cool, remove the beet skins. Grate or finely dice the roasted vegetables and set aside.
- When the meat is tender, add the cabbage and celery and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes, red wine vinegar, ajvar (or tomato or red pepper paste) and the roasted vegetables and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt and garnish with fresh dill.
Our Beef Borscht is a great way to eat beets!