October 24, 2009


Oh, please don't tell me you do not like beets until you try this recipe. I have had so many people tell me they hate beets and when they eat this soup, I've not had one person not rave about it and ask for seconds. My picky, veggie hating brother-in-law included. Right, Ben?

When Allen and I were dating, way back in the dark ages, I found this recipe in a magazine. I made a pot, which happened to be a lot for me. I froze it in single size portions and found it to be even better leftover. One night when my sweetheart came for a visit, I heated some up for him. A very picky eater, who "didn't like beets" he thought he would hate it. But not to offend the girl he was trying to win, he ate it anyway. And asked for seconds.

Now you can bet that our square foot garden has two squares filled with beets in the Spring and a second crop in the fall. I always start the second crop in late August so that when we get home from vacation they are ready for a nice big pot of soup just as the weather turns cold.

I've just harvested my beets so you can bet there will soon be a large pot cooking away on my stove. No matter how much I make, there never seems to be leftovers. So stop hating those beautiful little vegetables. Go buy a couple of beets and get some soup steaming. You will say, "I can't believe how delicious that is!"

4 beets peeled, 3 cubed and 1 grated (see note)
1 pound stew meat
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups water
3 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 small cabbage shredded
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup sour cream (we use far more than this and don't skimp! Get a full fat good quality brand.)

Note: Note: When handling beets, I wear rubber gloves or use zip lock bags to protect my nails and hands. An apron is not a bad idea. That beautiful red is hard to get out.

Cut greens off of top leaving about 2 inches attached to the beets. Scrub thoroughly to remove all dirt and sand. Place in your soup pot with the six cups of water. Bring to a boil. Boil several minutes until skins soften. You can test it by placing one in a bowl of ice water and rubbing your fingers over the skin. The skin, roots and stem should literally and very easily slide right off. If they do not boil a while longer. When you can remove the skin, cut three beets into cubes and grate one back into the pot.

You could peel them with a peeler but it is very time consuming and hard work.

1- place in pan: beets, beef, carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer 2 hours.

2- Add cabbage and vinegar. Bring to a boil again. Reduce to low and simmer 15 minutes.

At this point you are supposed to remove the bay leaf and skim the fat. I try to use lean beef and find there is very little fat to remove.

My Italian grandmother always shared the tradition that the person who found the bay leaf in their bowl would have good fortune. Now, I believe God is handling my fortune, but it is a fun tradition to see who gets the bay leaf anyway.

3- I like to serve this with lots of hearty bread. We pass a bowl of sour cream to top the soup at the table. I know beets and sour cream sounds odd but it works.

The Russians eat theirs cold, but I have not been able to bring myself to try it that way. If you feel adventurous, let me know how it is.


  1. Ok, Sorry...I just do not like beets. I won't even try it. Don't like peas either...just can't do them. My mom cans beets and yuck. I will pass this onto her though. My dad would love it.

  2. Not that peas were in your recipe, just another food I just really don't like. :) Again, my dad likes everything and this does sound good minus the beets so I will pass it onto my mom.

  3. I love beets! I have never heard of this and will definitely give it a try. Have you ever roasted them with a little Olive Oil and some salt? Divine!!

  4. I can't STAND beets, but I am willing to give this a try!

    Thanks for posting a delicious looking photo to go with it! :> )


  5. Mimi,

    I am so sure that if you really try this recipe with an open mind you will like it! I am going to give you a risk free challenge. You make this, or give the recipe to your mom to make, and if you do not like it, I will gladly reimburse you the cost of your ingredients. Now how can you turn down an offer like that? What do you have to lose?

    Happy Saturday!


  6. I've heard of Borscht, but never knew what it was. It sounds good and looks great! Did you take that picture? What a nice presentation.

    I think I will try this. I go to the farmer's market every week, and will look for beets. I haven't noticed them, but I'm sure I can get them at our grocery store. Thanks for the recipe.


  7. Dear Hope,

    Oh, please do not used canned beets. It would ruin the flavor and you will hate borscht forever! No wonder you don’t like beets if you have been eating those things. I will send you a recipe for pickled beets that Sam LOVES if you would like to do something with that can.

    And to Laura,

    I did not take that photo

    I use green cabbage. The taste of purple cabbage is a little milder and the leaves aren't quite as hardy. You could use purple and it won't hurt a thing if you prefer purple.

    The meat should be cubed. I toss it in the way it comes from the butcher, about 1 inch cubes. It doesn't matter too much, though.

    To Laura and Carol,

    I can not take credit for that beautiful picture. I did not have one around and I will not be making my soup until next week so I found that one on the internet. I think it actually came from Wikipedia. It is beautiful, isn't it? I like the contrast of the red against the white.



  8. My first reaction is to say yuck, but I do think that if I find beets on sale at the farmers market next week, I'll be back to try this out.. My DH would probably love it :-)