Recipe: Full-bodied borscht

Recipe: Full-bodied borscht
Posted on 09/17/2020
bowl of borscht soupBorscht is a traditional Ukrainian soup made with beef, cabbage, beets and other vegetables. The beets give it a distinctive crimson color. This particular recipe takes a few hours to prepare, but the resulting layers of flavor are worth it. Try making this on a slow fall weekend. You can find the meat and all of the produce at the Lenexa Farmers Market.

Recipe adapted from Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing, by Keith Schroeder

Servings: 8


½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons vodka
1 tablespoon horseradish (or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
5 (3-inch) red beets
2 cups diced carrots
1 ½ cups diced Yukon Gold potato
2 cups sliced onion
¼ cup sliced garlic cloves
1 ½ tablespoon canola oil, divided
2 cups finely sliced red (or green) cabbage
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.

  2. Combine the yogurt, the vodka and the prepared horseradish. Steal a pinch of the salt. Add it and stir. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Packet-steam the vegetables
  1. Ready four sheets of aluminum foil, about 1 foot in length.

  2. Trim the beets, leaving the root and an inch of the stem.

  3. Lay the beets on a foil sheet. Top with another foil sheet, and fold the edges together to make a “pillow” of beets.

  4. Now wrap the carrots and potatoes: Combine them on one half of a foil sheet, fold the other half over and fold the edges together.

  5. Repeat the same process with the onions and garlic: Place them on one half of a foil sheet, drizzle with ½ tablespoon oil, and make a packet.

  6. Place all of the packets on baking sheets. Roast the onions for about 20 minutes, the carrots and potatoes for about 30 minutes, and the beets for about an hour, until tender.

  7. Remove the vegetables from the oven as they’re done. Open the packets and pour the garlic, onion, carrots and potatoes into a bowl.

Shred the beets; quick-pickle the cabbage
  1. Open the beets packet carefully and remove the beets. Rub off the skins with gloved hands (to prevent stains) and/or a spoon, or by scraping with a paring knife.

  2. Trim the top and root ends off the beets, and then shred the beets on a box grater or in a food processor. Set aside with the other vegetables.

  3. In a stainless steel bowl, combine the cabbage, the red wine vinegar and sugar. Toss together. Let rest at room temperature for a few minutes.

Brown the meat and finish the borscht
  1. Place a Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Add the beef when the pan approaches the smoking point.

  2. Stir to brown the meat. Add the cabbage mixture, the remaining salt and the white pepper. Stir and allow the cabbage to wilt, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Add all of the other vegetables to the pot. Stir to combine, but don’t be aggressive.

  5. Simmer for a 90 minutes. (Bubbles should percolate constantly, but not rapidly.)

  6. Spoon the hot borscht into soup bowls. Top with a generous tablespoon of the yogurt mixture and a sprinkling of dill.

Published Sept. 17, 2020