Traditional Borscht Beet Soup

By Duane Radford, Freelance Writer
Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine

While most people are taking down their Christmas tree and putting away the decorations, Ukrainians celebrate their Christmas. This traditional borscht beet soup recipe is dedicated in their honour, and the role they played settling Alberta. People of Ukrainian heritage have a meatless meal for Christmas Eve celebrations and generally don’t include any soup bones in this recipe for their Christmas meal. However, you can use some smoked pork ribs or a ham bone to make the stock in this recipe. From start to finish, this recipe takes about 3 hours.

3 cups beets, peeled and sliced thin
2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups potatoes, diced
1 white Spanish onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
1?½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp dill weed (or dill seed)
1 tbsp cornstarch
sour cream (desired amount)

Parboil the whole beets for about 30 minutes and cool by adding cold water?—?peel the skin using a sharp paring knife and dice into bite size pieces. Add the beets, carrots, potatoes, chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and dill weed (seed) to the mixture. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Next, add the chopped onion, sliced mushrooms and diced celery. Simmer for 30 minutes. The borscht should be giving off quite a pleasant aroma by now and will have attracted a bit of a crowd in the kitchen.

Just before serving, mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch in ½ cup of cold water and slowly add this to the borscht, to thicken. Bring the soup to a boil and serve it up hot. If you like, add some sour cream to the borscht, as a treat. Even the kids will like this recipe and hardly anyone only has one helping. It keeps well if there are any leftovers. Serve it with some dinner rolls and a glass of milk and enjoy.

If you are using any smoked ribs or ham bones, cover them with 8 cups of water; bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 2 hours. Remove the bones, leaving the stock for the soup base. You can leave a bit of meat from the ham bone (or cut it from the ribs) in the stock, as tasty morsels.