We eat soup all year round, but what’s in the pot definitely changes with the seasons. In the winter it is most likely a big pot of hearty cheeseburger soup from the Simple Food for Winter cookbook. And right now, mid-summer with all that garden bounty, we’re often enjoying an old family favorite: borscht. As my two minutes of research into the subject shows, varieties of borscht are numerous, but what makes it borscht is (almost always) the beets. But beet-haters, take note: even people who don’t like beets have been known to polish off a bowl or two of this delicious vegetable soup.
The measurements are just haphazard guesstimates; I usually use what we have on hand and just eyeball it, which I know is extremely annoying when you are trying to replicate a recipe — sorry! I promise that you can’t really mess it up; the ratio of vegetables isn’t that important, just use what you like and what you have. The vegetable prep is a little intense, so this doesn’t work well as a last minute meal. The rice can be made ahead of time. This borscht is great leftover and it freezes well (just don’t add the cream before freezing), and makes an excellent gift for new parents or anyone else in need of a meal.
Best Summer Borscht
bone broth (chicken or beef work equally well, and it’s super easy and cheap to make your own), about 2 quarts
1 cup rice, precooked (it’s ok to undercook it a little, as it will absorb some of the soup liquid)
beets (about 6 small, 3 or 4 large), diced small
potatoes (I like to have about the same amount of potatoes as beets), diced
carrots (about 3-5 medium ones, or whatever you like), diced
green beans (I have no idea how many; use your discretion), ends snapped and cut to bite-size pieces
peas (we use frozen), 1-2 cups
fresh dill (imperative! the fresher the better)
salt & pepper to taste
cream and/or white vinegar for serving
Add broth, beets, potatoes, and carrots to the pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add the green beans and peas; cook 10 minutes more. Add rice & dill. Serve! We stir in cream and a tiny bit of white vinegar at the table.