Whenever I think of beets, borscht is the first thing that comes to my mind and not in a positive way. As a matter of fact, the word beet makes me grimace. My maternal grandmother, God rest her soul, would live on this cold Russian beet soup every Passover. After having a couple sips, I couldn’t fathom why. Most Russians I know and those from the Soviet Union claim that my dislike for borscht stems from the processed canned stuff which everyone unanimously agrees is total crud. Having root beet soup at a friend’s house slightly made me have a change of heart. Honestly, I was a little hesitant to try it when she mentioned that she was serving this soup. Just out of morbid curiosity, I tried a bit of it and it wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating it to be. It was actually downright good enough for me to want to replicate this soup. I forgot to ask for the recipe but decided to improvise my own version based on the ingredients I was able to memorize. Beets are bland when eaten alone. A bit of tomato paste and balsamic vinegar adds some kick to this soup. When made right, this root beet soup is rich and velvety. I especially love the deep purple and red hue.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 4 beets peeled and chopped
- 1 large potato peeled and cubed
- 1 large leek chopped, washed, and rinsed
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 large celery stalks chopped
- 1/2 cup of tomato paste
- 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper for taste
Place all ingredients in a stock pot. Fill it up with 4 to 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender. Puree with a hand blender or in batches with a blender. Season with salt and pepper.
Yields 4 to 6 servings