There are countless vegetable soup recipes around. Pretty much every nationality has their own version. The Russian version, borscht, has the added addition of beets, lending it a beautiful, bright red color.
We found this recipe from Lynn Kirsche Shapiro in her delightful new cookbook, ‘Food, Family and Tradition. Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Remembrances’ (Cherry Press, 2013). We love that several superfoods, beets, cabbage and tomatoes are all in a one pot recipe that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
Russian Vegetable Borscht
Makes 8 to 10 (8-ounce) servings
This is Lynn Shapiro’s aunt Goldie Weinberger’s recipe. “We made this soup every week ‘at home’ in the Soviet Union,” says her daughter, Ibi. The soup can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. If you are looking for a sweet and sour cabbage-based soup, which is not typical, this is perfect. It is spicy, refreshing and healthy. For a complete meal Goldie often served this with cheese blintzes.
- 1 small to medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1 carrot sliced into thin rounds
- 12 cups water
- 1⁄2 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 small beets, peeled and shredded
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (7-ounce) can tomato sauce
- Scant 1⁄8 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika, optional
- Fresh chopped dill, as needed, optional garnish
- Yogurt or sour cream, as needed, optional garnish
- 1 hard-boiled egg, thinly sliced, optional garnish
- In an 8-quart pot, add cabbage and carrots and 12 cups of water. Add paprika, salt, pepper and bay leaves to the cabbage soup. Bring to a boil, decrease heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a separate sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, but not browned. Add onion and beets and sauté until beets are soft and onion is golden but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
- Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and beans to the soup. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Bring to a boil, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add the reserved onion-beet mixture to the soup, heating through. Taste for seasoning again. If desired, add the hot paprika for an extra kick, and the chopped dill. Remove bay leaves and discard.
- Serve soup ladled into bowls and garnish each with the chopped dill (if you haven’t added it to the soup), and a dollop of sour cream and/or a slice of hard-boiled egg.
- For a thicker soup, start with 10 cups of water.
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About Lynn Kirsche Shapiro:
Lynn Kirsche Shapiro loves to cook, it’s a family tradition. She especially loves sharing family recipes that keep her Hungarian Jewish history alive. Cooking was Lynn’s family’s method of creativity, talking while they cook and sharing their love of good food. She learned to cook with her parents, passing that love on to her children and now her grandchildren As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Lynn has been sharing her family’s stories for years at various Jewish organizations. For years, she taught math at various colleges, in addition to directing the math program in a Jewish women’s college. Additionally, she taught and facilitated Jewish classes throughout her community. Lynn has played an integral role in her parent’s business, Hungarian Kosher Foods, the all kosher supermarket in Skokie, IL, consulting for large dinners, and developing recipes using food sold in the store. She has traveled back to her parents’ homes with her parents in Eastern Europe rediscovering her roots. Lynn lives in Chicago and travels often to Israel. She has 4 children and 9 grandchildren.