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Borscht (Beetroot Soup)

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Borscht is a traditional Eastern European soup made primarily from beetroot. This free recipe is for a clear soup but others are available that make everything from clear to really thick. All have one thing in common, they are tasty, slightly sweet, low in calories and usually have soured cream, yogurt or créme frais added at the end. The quantities given here are sufficient for 6 to 8 servings and may be served hot or cold. If you do not want a soup, other free beetroot recipes on this site include traditional beetroot recipes, a curried beetroot, beetroot and orange salad and a beetroot chutney recipe.

  • 2 pints (1.1 litres) of beef stock made with the real thing or Oxo cubes
  • 4 Large cooked (boiled or baked) beetroot about 1.5 - 2lb total (700-900g).
  • 2 carrots weighing about 8oz (225g) total, peeled and roughly chopped or grated.
  • 1lb (450g) chopped or grated onion.
  • 1 or 2 large sticks of celery, chopped.
  • 1 bouquet garni (look on the herb and spice shelf at your supermarket!).
  • salt and pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) of lemon juice.
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon zest.
  • 4 - 6 black peppercorns (adjust to taste)


  • Choice of soured cream, yogurt or créme frais, about 1 large tablespoon (15 - 20ml) per person.
  • A little finely chopped parsley (optional)
  • Croutons (optional)
  • A tiny amount of horse radish might not come amiss if you like it!



Peel and grate the cooked beetroot into a large saucepan, a capacity of 2 litres should suffice. If you have the will, grate the carrots and onion as well rather than chop them. Add the stock, carrots onions and celery. Bring to a rolling boil and add the peppercorns, lemon zest, salt and bouquet garni. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes then adjust the salt to your taste.

Strain the resulting broth through a fine sieve into a serving bowl, squeeze the pulp gently to get all the liquid, then stir in the lemon juice. Allow to cool completely if serving cold.

When serving, either put the soured cream into the center of the soup, pour in the broth and give it a couple of swirls before serving or have the cream as a side dish. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top. Serve with the croutons on the side. Horseradish is optional!

We have been asked what to do with the pulp. By the time that it has been cooked, it will not have a lot left that will interest anyone serious about food. However, if you really want to do something with it.........find a way to use it and send us the idea HERE.

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Updated 3/11/2004