The weather here in the North-west has drastically dropped in the last week and half, dipping in the 30’s at night. Brrrr *shivers*. With the chill in the air it’s official that Fall is here. What better to kick off the chilly season than a wonderfully satisfying soup. Not just any soup….beet soup. Now, before you go eeew I hate beets…give me a chance.
Beets…either you love them, or you hate them. There’s no inbetween with these earthy root vegetable. And I get it. They do have an earthiness that almost tastes like dirt, which is off-putting to some. But, even if you hate beets….you may love Borscht. It’s been known to happen!
My Ukarainian sister-in-law first instroduced me to this a traditional Ukarainian soup that is sometimes made with beef, chicken or just plain vegetables.It gets its gorgeous deep ruby reddish-purple color from…you guessed it- Beets. I happen to like beets, but I had never had it hot in a soup before and I must say it was absolutely delicious.
My borscht recipe is by no means the most ‘authentic’ way to make this soup, it’s simply my version of the hearty beet soup. I like making it with chicken, but you can easily keep it vegetarian by excluding the chicken and using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. The recipe involves some prep work that mosty involves cutting vegetables, other than that it’s super easy to make.
The earthiness of the beets, cabbage, carrots and potatoes combined with the dill, vinegar and sour cream creates a deliciously sweet and sour soup that even if you don’t like beets you may love. Other than it being super delicious it’s also packed with very nutritious veggies which mkes it a very healthy soup….perfect for a chilly weather day!
Chicken & Beet Soup (Borscht)
Ingredients: (Serves 6)
* 1/2 an onion
* 4 cloves of garlic
* 2 stalks of celery
* 1/2 small cabbage (red or white)
* 1 large potato
* 1-2 carrots
* 2-3 beets
* 2 chicken breasts
* 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
* Salt to taste
* 3-4 cups Chicken stock
* 2 tsp fresh chopped dill
* 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
* juice of one lemon
* Sour cream for garnish
– Start by prepping all the vegetables for the soup. Simply cut the onion in quarters and then finely slice it. I used my trusty mandolin slicer.
– Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves and then slice up 2 stalks of celery.
– Quarter and slice up half a small head of regular cabbage or red cabbage, about 4 cups.
– Cut the potato into macth-sticks. To do this I first peeled and then sliced the potato lenthwise using a mandolin. Then stack 4-5 slices together in batches and slice them into match-stick sized pieces.
– Match-stick the carrots in the same way, or just cheat like I did and buy them match-sticked ;-).
– Peel and cut the beets in the same way you cut the potato. I used 2 large beets (about 4 cups)…but I would have preferred to use 3 small beets for this recipe. Small beets tend to be sweeter and they have less of that dirt taste to them.
– That’s your vegetable preparation for the soup. I had to stand back and admire my handy-work.
– Heat a little olive oil in a large pot.
– Saute the onion in the oil for about 2-3 minutes until they turn soft and translucent.
– Then add in the garlic and celery and sautee them as well for a couple minutes.
– Add the rest of the vegetables- the beets, potato, carrots and cabbage to the pot and mix them well.
– Season the veggies with some freshly ground black pepper and salt according to your taste.
– Pour in the chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of the soup) and bring everything to a boil. Then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes.
– While the soup is simmering, you can cook the chicken by seasoning the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then cooking them in a covered pan with a touch of olive oil for about 15 minutes or so until it’s cooked all the way through.
– Shred the chicken using a fork and add it to the soup.
– Once all the vegetables are cooked through, add some finely chopped fresh dill, a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar and the juice of one lemon. Give the soup a taste and add salt if needed.
– Serve the soup hot with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chopped dill. Sluuuurrrp!