Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

Classic Beef Borscht

Classic beef borscht recipe that you'll come back to over and over again. Simple ingredients, classic method and authentic taste! You don't want to pass on this soup.

Classic beef borscht recipe that you’ll come back to over and over again. Simple ingredients, classic method and authentic taste! You don’t want to pass on this soup.

Classic beef borscht recipe that you'll come back to over and over again. Simple ingredients, classic method and authentic taste! You don't want to pass on this soup.

You guys probably noticed I’ve been sharing a lot of soup recipes lately instead of usual appetizers.

Here’s the thing… I’ve become a mom (first time mom!) and things are quite busy around here now. I can no longer afford making bunch of appetizers and cooking dinner for the family. There’s just not enough hours in a day, you know. Even if there was, my little man will keep me occupied. He’s such a cuddler! ????

So anyway, I decided to start sharing my regular family meals with you guys. Besides, when I did a quick survey last year, a lot of you asked for quick and easy family-style meals.

Now today’s recipe isn’t really quick by any means, but it’s easy and oh-so-good! I like to take my time on a Sunday afternoon and cook some hearty soup to feed my body and soul. It’s so relaxing and therapeutic! Can you relate?

I may not have Russian (or Ukrainian) blood running through my veins, but I grew up in a Russian community and consider Russia as my second homeland! I’ve shared quite a few classic Russian recipes here on the blog before. And here is another one to add to the list. Borscht is actually a Ukrainian dish, but very common in Russia. Surprisingly it’s quite popular here in North Dakota too, because of all the Ukrainian immigrants settled in ND long time ago.

Today, I’m sharing with you a classic beef borscht recipe. This soup is so delicious that even my beet-hating husband loves it!

And here’re a few points that makes it classic:

  • First things first, we’ll start with making a beef stock. If you have beef on the bone, fantastic! Cook it whole in the cold water and then remove from the stock and cut the meat into small pieces. If you’re using beef without bones, like I am here, then go ahead and cut the meat into small pieces and make the stock. When the stock boils up, it’ll produce some scum foam on top. Remove the scum with a slotted spoon right away for nice and clear stock, it’s purely for aesthetics though.
  • And here is an important step that separates borscht from vegetable soup. We’ll sauté the carrots and beets separately and then will add it to the stock. If you’re just throwing all the vegetables into the soup, to me it’s just another vegetable soup.
  • To preserve the beautiful bright color of the beet, some add vinegar or lemon juice while sautéing the vegetables. But I don’t think it’s necessary. However, I do prepare the beets in two different ways: grated and julienned. I think it adds texture and helps to preserve the bright color.

Classic Beef Borscht recipe step by step

Although the winter here in ND has been unusually warm and we have no snow on the ground (thanks to El Nino!), I still like to pretend that it’s freezing outside and make a big batch of borscht. Comfort food at its best!!

Classic beef borscht recipe that you'll come back to over and over again. Simple ingredients, classic method and authentic taste! You don't want to pass on this soup.

Have you ever had borscht before?

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Classic Beef Borscht

Classic beef borscht recipe that you’ll come back to over and over again. Simple ingredients, classic method and authentic taste! You don’t want to pass on this soup.

Yield: About 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1lb (450gr) beef, cut into small cubes (Any kind of meat will work, I used stew meat here)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium beets
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 7oz (200gr) cabbage (about ¼ of medium cabbage)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • Sour cream and bread for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, add the beef, 1 teaspoon of salt and 10cups of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, skimming off the scum for clearer stock. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  2. Grate the carrots and 1 beet on a large grater, and julienne the other beet. I like the different treatments of beets for texture and color.
  3. Cube the potatoes and celery into small pieces. Thinly slice the cabbage.
  4. Once the stock has been cooking for about 30 minutes, add potatoes and bay leaf.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add grated carrots along with pressed garlic. Sauté the carrots until nice and fragrant. Add beets and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Then stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add sliced cabbage and celery into the stock and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the sautéed vegetables and cook until heated through, about another 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve immediately with sour cream and bread.

For step-by-step photos and additional notes, read the post above.

All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory by Shinee

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29 comments

  1. Shinee,

    You wouldnt happen to have the nutritional info on this soup would you? It shoudlnt be difficult to go through and figure out but if someone else has already done it, it does make things a bit easier.

  2. I feel like I missed something, this must be the most bland borcht I’ve ever made. I even added fill and apple cider vinegar, as well as cubed beets and grated. 

    Rating: 1
    • Hi, Jess. Sorry you didn’t like my borscht recipe. I guess it was so horrible it only deserved only 1 star. Oh well, I appreciate your feedback. I’m surprised though. With all that vegetables and meat, herbs and even vinegar, it was still bland?

  3. Just so so. Not enough flavor and I did not enjoy the mushiness the grated vegetables added. I added beef bones, dill, salt, more pepper and an extra long simmer on the broth and it was still bland. Needs more beets and potatoes, next time I’d do onions and I wouldnt cook anything in a separate pot so the flavors actually meld. 

    Rating: 4
    • Hi, Alia! Thank you for your honest feedback. Onions would be a great addition. But I’m surprised you felt it didn’t have enough beets, I secretly think I add a bit too much of it. 🙂 I guess, to each their own. Stewing beets and carrots separately actually adds more flavor and it’s a traditional way of cooking borsch. But I know not everyone cooks it this way. Again, everyone has their own method. Hope you’ll find a perfect borscht recipe for you and your family.

    • Ok, I have to up it to 4 stars. It did taste better the following days, but even more than that my 1 and 4 year olds have been chowing down on it. So maybe it’s not my exact “perfect borscht,” but it is obviously very well received. Thank you!

  4. Hi there I’m not sure if you are still answering comments but I’m going to be making this for the first time. I have a beef on the bone like you said and want to cook it on the stove top but I didn’t see how long you cook one with the bone in… Weather this is more like an eight-hour process or you still only cook for about 45 minutes with the bone in and just discard the bone after. Thanks!

    • Hi, Carl. So sorry for late response. No need to boil for 8-hours, you can boil it for about an hour, and then remove from broth, cut the meat into small pieces and discard the bone. Hope you’ll enjoy!

  5. This is a favorite of my family, my husband is Moldovan and is always asking for it. In the recipe, I don’t see anything about where in the process to add the celery in. I added it at the end with the cabbage, but I’m not sure that was enough cook time to make it soft. Just curious 🙂

    Rating: 5
    • Hey, Kayla! Thank you for your feedback! So glad you all loved the soup. And sorry for confusion on celery. You did it right, it goes in with cabbage. I updated the recipe to reflect that.

  6. Hi Shinee!
    I was reading through some comments, saw the onion situation. If you were to add an onion, which I believe is usually used in this soup?, how much would you add? When would you add it?
    I LOVE borscht, and beets in general. Can’t wait to make this – it’s chilly out!

    • Hi, Jillian! Great question. Yes, you can definitely add onion. I’d add about 1/2 of a medium yellow onion. My husband can’t eat onion and I learned to cook without it. Hehe. Saute the onion with carrots and garlic at step 5. Hope you’ll love it, and let me know if you make it.

  7. could u make this in a slow cooker instead of on the stove?

  8. I was just wondering why you don’t add onion to зажарка? Other than that I make it the exact same way you do! Great pictures! 

    • Hi, Olya! Thanks!! Yes, I used to add onions too, but my husband doesn’t digest onion well. So that’s why I don’t use much onion in my cooking anymore.

  9. Oh my goodness this looks divine! I especially love your photography 🙂 Totally pinning, have a great day! xo

  10. Shinee, I will definitely share a recipe for the pickle soup, it is not currently on the blog but would make a fun addition.

    I forgot to answer your question about the carrots– yes, I cok them separately the same way you do and add them to the pot towards the end.

  11. Shinee, by pickle soup I meant рассольник. It’s a hard word to pronounce for my husband, so we call it “pickle soup”. Surprisingly, it is very popular in my family.

    On a side note, I grew up in Buryatia, in Ulan Ude– very close to where you are from (a small world).

    Your baby boy is adorable! Congratulations on this new addition to your family. You are such a trooper. I had unmedicated births as well and have a lot of respect for women who choose this route. Sounds like your husband made a great support team!

    • I bet it’s hard to say рассольник! Haha And no, actually, I’ve never made that soup. Would you mind sharing your recipe, I’d love to give it a try. Or is it on your blog already?

      Ah, Buryatia, I remember having supervisors coming from Ulan-Ude at the children’s summer camp in Mongolia that we used to go. It was so hard to say good-bye to them at the end of the summer. Lovely people!! And thanks for reading my birth story. It was quite an experience and I definitely proud for going through it med-free. 🙂

  12. Hi Shinee, your borscht looks absolutely scrumptious.

    I grew up eating borscht, and like with any comfort dish, every household has its own way to make it, which I think is totally fine.

    Growing up in Russia, I’ve never seen celery in my life, so I don’t use it in borscht. For the beets, I’ve cooked them the way you do all my life until I read a tip to boil thoroughly scrubbed whole beets (unpeeled) with the meat. Then remove, cool slightly and chop or shred. I now use this method (I just hate shredding raw beets, it’s a workout).

    Soups are definitely a life-saver when you need to feed a family. I have four kids and they all, and my Houston born and raised husband, adore Russian food and soups. Have you made pickle soup?

    • Hi, Mila! You’re so right, every household has its own version of any classic dish. Oh yeah, celery is totally something I started adding after I came to the U.S. And what an interesting way to cook beets. I’ll have to try that next time. So do you still make зажарку with carrots? And I totally agree about grating raw beets, it’s hell! 🙂

      Russian cuisine is absolutely delicious. No wonder your family loves it. By pickle soup, do you mean солянка? If so, I’ve had it, but I don’t usually make it.

  13. Such a great dish – I am lucky enough to have eaten classic Russian borscht from a friend – nothing quite like it. And this looks just as good. And congrats on being a mom for the first time!

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