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.
- 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)
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- Add in the tomato paste; cook stirring for 1 minute.
- Add in carrots, celery, cabbage and all the water from the cooked potatoes and beets.
- 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.
- If the soup is too thick add in a little more water.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream.