Yesterday I made borscht for a guest post on my cousin’s food blog (there’s video involved!). I was going to try to be all Polly Perfect and follow my proper borscht procedure down to every letter of my recipe. But then, I started grating. And it started grating. On my nerves. I was pouting with a beet in one hand and a low-quality box grater in the other when my jerkface joker of a bf snapped this picture of my one-woman whinefest.

Right after that, I gave up on grating and lazily chopped the remainder of my beets.

The lesson in this, my friends, is that soup isn’t very scientific. Prep-wise, you can basically do whatever you want. Not coincidentally, soup is probably my favorite thing in the world to make. And soup with beets? Well, I have a special soft spot there.

When I was a kid, my mom would buy beets from the local farmer’s market and slice them up with cheddar cheese, bake them, and serve them as a side dish. I loved their sweet, nutty flavour–and, of course, the technicolor effects they produced after being eaten (if you catch my meaning). As I got older and learned about the surprising versatility–and cheapness–of the beet root, I became a superfan. This borscht recipe, I have to say, is a pretty kickass tribute to one of my fave vegetables.

Magical Borscht

  • 2 lbs beets, diced
  • 3-4 new potatoes, diced
  • 1 big ol’ carrot, diced
  • 1 large cooking onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch dill, stems separated from fronds
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 or so peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • plain yogurt (optional)
  1. Fry up your onions in a large stock pot. Add chopped veggies. Stir a little, add water and dill stems.
  2. Make a spice bag (or bouquet garni if that’s how you roll) out of the mustard seeds, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaf by wrapping the spices in cheesecloth and securely tying the opening with a piece of string. Coffee filters and tea infusers also work well for this purpose. Throw that into your pot.
  3. Cover, adjust the heat so that you have a hearty simmer (but not a manic boil), and entertain yourself for 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Once your veggies are sufficiently tender but not pulverized, remove from heat. Remove the spice bag/infuser/coffee filter and set aside. Finally, add the chopped dill fronds (but for the love of all that is holy, save some for garnish!)
  5. Blender time! Puree your soup until it has a kind of applesaucy consistency. Add salt and pepper to your liking, top with a dollop of yogurt, and garnish with your leftover dill bits. Yum yum!
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