Written by: Melissa Prieskorn
2 Medium size beets
3 Small potatoes
2 Large carrots
1 Large tomato
½ Head of cabbage
4 Cups vegetable broth
1 Cup water
1 Small red bell pepper
2 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped dill and parsley, include stem
Optional: Yogurt or sour cream
Living fully in the complete silence of the mid morning, sun slowly streaming into the one kitchen window that gave the rest of the tiny room a subdued lighting. I was sitting on a small yellow wooden stool, smelling the aroma of soup in the kitchen while watching Sheeshka try to trap a fly within her two front kitten paws on the windowsill.
I didn’t realize it then, but that was the moment I fell for the most favored and delicious soup in the world. Borscht.
Borscht is a very popular soup in the Central and Eastern European countries, which is where I had my first bowl. I was then taught the art of making vegetarian Russian borscht from a woman I lived with in Siberia named Bella. From learning how to make traditional Borscht, I created an authentic vegetarian Russian version that I call Bella’s Borscht.
The secret to this soup is its simplicity, with the beetroot being the main ingredient. It truly is the warmest and most comforting soup for the change of seasons, especially when the chill of blustery winds wrap its arms around autumn. If you are looking for a recipe to comfort and warm your stomach and soul, this soup is quite perfect.
Start by boiling a small pot of water. While waiting for water to heat, thinly slice the skin off the beet. When water is fully boiled place beets into pot. Add salt. Once the beet is moderately soft, set out to cool. Once cooled, grate into a small bowl.
Clean all the produce. Take the peeled potatoes and cut into small cubes. Also peel the carrots and grate them into a small bowl. Cut tomatoes, pepper and onion into pieces and then the half head of cabbage into thin slices. Also clean and chop fresh parsley and dill, include the stems, and put into a small bowl. Place the cubed potatoes, cabbage and beets into a separate medium sized pot along with vegetable broth & water and let simmer until vegetables are soft.
While waiting for the vegetables in the pot to cook, drizzle extra virgin olive oil into a pan and wait until oil is hot. Place chopped pepper, carrots, onion and tomato into the pan. Once the vegetables are fully sautéed & slightly golden brown, place into medium sized pot with the cabbage, beets and potatoes. Add any dry seasonings for taste.
When the soup is ready and vegetables are fully cooked, wait no longer than thirty minutes to eat. Add fresh parsley and dill to soup. You can also add yogurt or sour cream. It is delicious with fresh bread or crackers!
Tip: Monitor the soup. If you like the vegetables a bit crunchy, do not let soup sit on the stove for too long.