How to Make Borscht (Cold Beet Soup)
It is important to eat soup all year round, but on hot summer days, the last thing you want to do is eat a bowl of hot soup. That is why there are cold soups. One of them is, of course, cold borscht.
What is Borscht?
Borscht is a soup that is made from beets. There are two types: hot and cold (which is known as holodnik). Each one uses different ingredients, and although beets are used in both, the hot version is made from regular, loose beets, and the cold one is usually made from bunched beets (those that have leafy stems on them). The leaves are not discarded but are actually used in the soup. That is one thing that sets the cold apart from the hot one.
Borscht is popular in Eastern European countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Poland. Each country has its own variation of this delicious soup, but even within the same country, people make their own versions to suit their various tastes and preferences.
Hot borscht is popular during the cold months, while the cold borscht (holodnik) is popular during the warm or hot days, especially in the summer.
I love both of these soups. It is hard to pick a favorite because although they're both made with beets, they are quite different taste-wise.
Making the cold borscht from the bunched beets (with leafy stems on them) takes time. If you don't have time to do it, you can still enjoy a refreshing bowl of cold borscht...all you have to do is go to your local supermarket and buy a jar of Gold's borscht (really, any brand will do). Add a few fresh ingredients to it and you are done.
Below you will find a cold borscht recipe that uses Gold's. It requires only a few ingredients and takes very little time. Of course, making the soup from scratch is more nutritious, but using the store-bought soup is great as well, especially when you don't have time.
When I make cold borscht, I sometimes mix the Gold's with bunched beets and their leaves. The soup tastes even better this way and is more nutritious. It is also a richer soup, as the one from the jar doesn't have a lot of beets in it.
The recipe below can easily serve four people. Enjoy!
- 1 jar Gold's borscht
- 1 hard boiled egg
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2 carton buttermilk
- a few stalks of scallion
- 1 bunch fresh parsley or fresh dill, dried parsley can be used as well
- sour cream
- lemon, (optional)
- Open a jar of Gold's borscht and pour the contents into a pot, then add 1/2 carton of buttermilk and stir.
- Hard-boil one egg. When it is done, place it under running water, remove the shell, cut it into small pieces, and place it into the pot with the soup.
- Wash and peel a cucumber and cut it into small slices. Then wash and dice the scallion. Add both into the pot with the soup and stir.
- Add a small amount of salt to the mixture, sprinkle with dried parsley, and stir. You can also add some fresh parsley and/or fresh dill. If you do, first wash dice the herbs into small pieces before putting them in. Set the soup aside to let it cool, then put it in the refrigerator.
- When you are ready to eat, simply pour some into a soup bowl, add a teaspoon of sour cream, mix, and serve. You can squeeze in some lemon if you like it to be a bit sour. Remember, this is a cold soup.
- This dish goes great with boiled potatoes and/or herring. If you've never had herring, now is the perfect time. It has a unique flavor and will only make your meal taste better than it already does.
- You can add some shredded, boiled beets to the soup to give it even more substance and flavor.
The next time it's hot and you crave something delicious, try this cold borscht (holodnik). It is one of my favorite soups—not just in the summer, but all year round. It may become one of your favorite soups as well. Enjoy!
© 2012 Lena Kovadlo