Total Time
2hrs
Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

This is an easy recipe that goes back a number of years, I really don't even bother measuring ingredients for this but the amounts are pretty close to what I use, all ingredients do not have to be exact, it's a wonderful full-flavor borscht with a beautiful colour --- fresh beets are a must with this recipe --- since my family loves extreme spice I add in 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped and some dried chili flakes but that is optional, I strongly suggest to make this soup 1-2 days ahead and refrigerate it will increase in flavor, just warm on top of the stove --- All ingredients can be adjusted to taste. Feel free to add in some small cooked pasta shells or cooked rice also if desired. To really "kick" this borscht up a notch, saute about 6 slices of bacon and add it chopped to the soup (along with the beef) use the bacon fat in place of the oil and butter. For a vegetarian version omit the beef use vegetable broth and add in some firm tofu if desired. This soup freezes well.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 lbs sirloin (cut into 1-inch cubes can use more than 2 pounds if desired)
  • 3 -4 tablespoons bacon fat (can use oil)
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 5 large fresh beets (peeled, sliced or chopped, use ONLY fresh beets!)
  • 10 cups water, divided
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 -3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped or sliced)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 small cabbage (shredded or use red cabbage or both)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can stewed tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can tomato soup, undiluted (even better, use 2 cans!)
  • 4 cups canned beef broth
  • 2 -4 teaspoons fresh dill weed (optional or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or to taste)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • sour cream (to taste)

Directions

  1. Heat oil and butter (or bacon fat) in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat; add in the beef cubes and brown well on all sides, remove to a bowl (leave the fat in the pot).
  2. In a separate cooking pot add in diced potatoes, sliced beets and 5 cups water (making certain to use enough water to cover the veggies) bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, cooking until JUST fork-tender (about 10-15 minutes do not overcook as they will cook more in the soup).
  3. Using a slotted spoon remove the potatoes and beets to a bowl; set aside (DO NOT discard the cooking water from the potatoes and beets).
  4. While the potatoes and beets are cooking, add the onions, garlic and chili flakes to the pot with the oil; cook for 5-6 minutes or until the onions are softened, stirring constantly.
  5. Add in the tomato paste; cook stirring for 1 minute.
  6. Add in carrots, celery, cabbage and all the water from the cooked potatoes and beets.
  7. Add in the remaining 5 cups water, 4 cups beef broth, the browned beef, cooked potatoes and beets, stewed tomatoes with juice, tomato soup, dill weed, cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, then reduce heat, simmer on low heat covered for about 1 hour or until the beef is very tender.
  8. If the soup is too thick add in a little more water.
  9. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  10. Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream.