I keep a collection of baskets by the kitchen door.  A trip to the garden requires one carry the right basket for the occasion.  A small square basket for strawberries.  A very deep basket for kale.  Something larger and round with a sturdy handle for root crops like beets    Snip lots of dill heads, add a few carrots and a potato or two and you have the ingredients  to make a big batch of borscht.

There must be a hundred different recipes fo beet borscht.  Everyone is the right one.   This is one of my favorite recipes.  It has tons of vegetables.  It is made with a rich chicken stock. Has a tangy sweet sour flavour.  Served with a generous dollop of sour cream it is positively define.   You could add little bits of spicy sausage.  Or make the recipe with beef stock.  You can serve borscht hot or cold.    You get the picture.

Though there are potatoes in the recipe the soup freezes beautiful.   Don protective gloves and start chopping beets .

: soup
Cuisine: European
: 12
A big batch soup with tons of vegetables. Serve this tangy Borscht hot or cold
  • 2 generous tbs (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, medium dice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2-3 tbsp.)
  • ½ tsp (2 mL). caraway seed
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) red pepper flakes
  • 1½ lb (680 g) beets, peeled and medium diced
  • 6 cups (1.25 mL) chopped green cabbage
  • 2 small potatoes (Yukon gold or other waxy potato) (about 10 oz/280 g), cubed
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1¾ tsp ( 9 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (4 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (5½ oz/156 mL) tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar
  • 10 generous cups (2.4 mL) chicken stock preferably home made. See chef's note) or vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp (50 mL) white or red wine vinegar
  1. In large stock pot heat oil over medium heat and saute onion, garlic, caraway seeds, red pepper flakes and salt stirring occasionally until softened and light golden, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in beets, cabbage, potatoes, celery, carrots, bay leaves, and pepper. Cook over medium heat stirring often until beets are starting to soften, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato paste and brown sugar. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally until beets are tender, about 40 minutes.
  6. Stir in vinegar and discard bay leaves.
  7. You can freeze the soup in containers for up to 2 weeks.

Chef Note:  Save roast chicken bones (bag them in your freezer until you have a large amount)  and make chicken stock.  In stock pot put your chicken bones (or a couple of pounds of fresh chicken wings) add a coarsely chopped onion yellow skin and all, a couple of coarsely chopped ribs of celery, and a few chopped carrots.  If you have some parsley add that too.  You can even pop in a couple of cloves of garlic.  Add half a tablespoon of whole black pepper.  Cover with a generous amount of water.  You will be reducing this by at least 30% so you really can’t add to0 much water.  I always fill my stock pot to almost the top with water.  Bring the stock to a raging boil for about 3-4 minutes then reduce it to a gentle simmer.  Prop the lid askew with a wooden spoon.  Let simmer forgotten for as long as possible.  At least 6 – 12 hours.  As the water reduces your stock turns a lovely golden colour and releases the delicious aroma of chicken.

Strain your stock and immediately ladle into freezer containers.  I use both 1 cup and 2 cup sizes. Leave on your counter until just cool enough to refrigerate.  When the stock has cooled down enough to put in your freezer remove the fat from the top of the stock and freeze for up to 3 months.

Cooling your stock in small containers quickens the cooling time eliminating any chance of pathogen growth.  It also makes the remove of the fat easir.

If you have only the carcass of one roast chicken you can make a quick stock by  following the above instructions  adjusting the vegetables and black pepper.  Simmer for a few hours then add to your beet borscht.  It will be vastly superior to ANY type of commercial chicken stock.


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