Hello friend, check out my recipe for the most famous Polish Beetroot Soup (Barszcz Czerwony). In Poland, we enjoy many different varieties of this soup, depending on the occasion. This recipe outlines a basic beetroot soup with the addition of kvass and vegetable broth as a base. It’s perfect for Christmas time, especially when accompanied by homemade Uszka – small mushroom dumplings. Smacznego!
The preparation of the soup begins with a good broth base; you can use vegetarian or chicken according to your preference. The addition of Beetroot Kvass (Fermented Beetroot starter) is optional, but it brings a depth of flavour that is unique, making the dish much more complex and delicious.
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Polish Beetroot Soup Explained
What is Polish Red Borscht?
Definitely of of our most loved soups, cherished through the year with a different accompaniments for a different occasions.
What to use as a base for the Polish Beetroot Soup?
Good broth is a good start, at my household we usually prepare Polish Chicken Soup called “Rosół” as a base for delicious Borscht. You can use vegetarian broth as well. Simply add to your pot two chopped carrots, two diced onions, few garlic cloves, some celery and water to cover, simmer for one hour with a lid on top, season with salt and pepper (We use Vegeta or Kucharek seasoning as well).
For the chicken version you can use legs or the whole corpse, the principle is the same. You can intensify the flavour by cooking without lid and reducing the liquid and that works well if you prepare a bigger batch.
Beetroot Kvass: The Flavour Enhancer
To enrich you beetroot soup I recommend you to add some Beetroot Kvass. This lacto-fermented beverage is a great way to add complexity and sourness to your soup. It takes around a week to prepare it but it is very simple process. You can also drink it on its own for a range of health benefits especially to boost your gut bacteria.
What goes well with Polish Beetroot Soup?
So this time of year we prepare it with Uszka – small pierogi filled with fried onions, white mushrooms and wild mushrooms like Porcini or Boletus. We also serve it in a cup as a side for Krokiety (Polish Croquettes filled with mushrooms and sauerkraut). On other occasions it can be served with boiled diced potatoes topped with a dollop of sour cream and dill or parsley. We also prepare spring time version prepared with the stems of Beetroot called “Botwinka”. I also love to drink it on its own as there is nothing that warms you up better on a cold autumn evening.
Guide on How to make Polish Beetroot Soup:
Polish Beetroot Soup (Barszcz Czerwony)
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Ingredients for Borscht:
- 6.5 cups Vegetable Broth - (1.5L) You can use chicken broth as well
- 1.1 lbs Beetroot - (500g) Peeled and sliced
- 2.1 cups Beetroot Kvass - (500ml) You can purchase ready made or prepare your own. It is an optional ingredient.
- 2 Bay leaves
- 5 All Spice Berries
- 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sugar - to taste
- Black pepper & salt - to taste
- Peel the beetroots and slice them thinly. If you are using homemade Beetroot Kvass, ensure it's prepared ahead of time.
- In a large pot, bring the vegetable or chicken broth to a boil. Add the sliced beetroots, bay leaves, and all spice berries to the pot. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the beetroots are tender.
- Once the beetroots are tender, use a slotted spoon to remove them along with the bay leaves and all spice berries from the soup.
- If you are using beetroot kvass, stir it into the soup at this stage.
- Add white wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir well and let it simmer on very low heat for an additional 5 minutes.
- Depending on the occasion, serve the borscht with Uszka z Grzybami (Polish mushroom dumplings), a boiled egg, cream, potatoes, Krokiety (Polish croquettes), or enjoy it on its own. Garnishing with fresh parsley or dill and a dollop of sour cream can also enhance the flavor and presentation of the dish.
Few words from Chef
I hope you enjoyed this delicious Polish soup, let me know how you found this recipe and what can I add to make it better. I value your opinion even the negative one, so don’t be shy and drop a comment below. Thanks and Smacznego! Make sure to check out my Uszka Recipe – perfect addition to Polish Beetroot soup during Christmas holidays!