Persons: 2 Cost: $$ Level: medium Time: 1h15min cooking + 1 day to rest Ingredients: easy to find
Borscht is a soup that will charm almost anyone from the very first sip. Rich taste and elegance, almost hypnotic ruby color, makes borscht just absolutely gorgeous. It’s no wonder that it even charmed king Władysław Warneńczyk and became one of his favorite soups.
However, the soup of these royal times does not resemble today’s version. For years it underwent a culinary revolution, but what has never changed is that borscht is a pure vegan dish based on soured (sourdough) beetroot juice. Its main ingredient beetroot, which is full of anthocyanin (the same pigments present in red wine), helps build our resistance, slow down signs of aging and prevent the occurrence of cancer.
Traditionally, we served Borscht at Christmas dinner in one of three main versions:
- Pure – the recipe from this post
- With polish ravioli “uszka” – my family ‘s Christmas version
- With polish croquet – a more casual, every-day recipe often served in bars
As we’re all very busy, we don’t always have time to prepare soured (sourdough) beetroot juice in the time-consuming traditional way. In Poland, shoppers can easily find prepared natural one at local shops; however, as someone who lives in Paris, I know how hard it can be to find abroad. For this recipe which is very close to my heart as it has been passed down to me by my beloved mom, Jola. I’ll show you how to make your own soured-sourdough taste in just one minute, which is excellent for everyday use.
Fill a large pot with 1.5l of water and set to boil. Then thoroughly wash and peel all vegetables. For beetroots, I suggest wearing latex gloves, as the beetroot juice is quite strong and can stain your skin. Next, cut beetroots into thick slices, around 1cm. Put all your vegetables into the pot with water, add 2 bay leaves, 8-10 Jamaica peppers , 2 cloves of garlic (peeled), 1 teaspoon of sugar (sugar evokes the flavor of the beetroots), cover your pot and boil for about 45min to an hour, until vegetables are tender.
Sift out all ingredients from step #1, leaving behind an intensely ruby colored broth. Now is the moment to acidify your soup with my mom’s method, which it’s excellent for daily cooking. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon – being careful not to drop any seeds , season with fresh salt and pepper and add 2 cloves of garlic. Cook on very low heat for around 5 minutes then remove the garlic cloves to leave neat and spotless broth.
Now that the soup is almost ready and you can finish up in one of two ways:
- If you want to serve the soup on the same day, set it aside for at least 1h, and then follow step #4
- I personally recommend storing the soup in the fridge, once it has cooled down, and serving the next day. This lets all the flavors fuse together, producing a stronger and more intense flavor.
#Step 4 just before serving
Warm up the soup until it is hot but not boiling – this is very important as it can detract from the flavor. Next, heat a bit of olive oil in a small pan and add in 1 onion, peeled and cut into small, thin cubes and fry until lightly golden. You can garnish each bowl of borscht or you can allow everyone at the table to serve themselves. Hope you like it and hope that your soup will charm everyone who tries it.
Accessories used in the photos⇒
Crockery set: Hakuji, Muji
Recipes Notebook: Mark’s (limited edition, bought in Le Bon Marché, Paris)