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Full-Bodied Borscht

Photo: Oxmoor House


Hands-on time 50 mins
Total time 3 hrs, 15 mins
Yield Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups soup and 1 tablespoon yogurt mixture)
This recipe--the ultimate homage to beets--is a lesson in individualized cooking processes. You'll use the packet-steaming method for the beets, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and onions. You'll brown beef. You'll wilt cabbage. The broth simply brings it all together, slowly and gently. Keep this in mind when it's time to build a soup or stew on the fly with odds, ends, and leftovers.


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 5 (3-inch) red beets
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Yukon Gold potato
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups finely sliced red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 cups lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Nutrition Information

  • calories 281
  • fat 11.3 g
  • satfat 2.6 g
  • monofat 5.6 g
  • polyfat 2.4 g
  • protein 14 g
  • carbohydrate 29 g
  • fiber 6 g
  • cholesterol 21 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 444 mg
  • calcium 80 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°.

  2. Combine the yogurt, the vodka, and the prepared horseradish. Steal a pinch of the salt. Add it and stir. Set aside.


  4. Ready 4 sheets of aluminum foil, about 1 foot in length.

  5. Prepare the beets and make a "pillow" of beets (see Step by Step below).

  6. Now wrap the carrots and potatoes: Combine them on a foil sheet and seal it "en papillote" style.

  7. Repeat the same process with the onions and garlic: Place them on a foil sheet, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon oil, and make a packet.

  8. Place all of the packets on baking sheets. Roast the onions for about 20 minutes, the carrots and potatoes for about 30 minutes, and the beets for about an hour, until tender.

  9. Remove the vegetables from the oven as they're done. Open the packets and pour the garlic, onion, carrot, and potato into a bowl.


  11. Take the beets out of the packet and rub the skins off. Trim the edges and shred on a box grater. Set aside with the other vegetables.

  12. In a stainless steel bowl, combine the cabbage, the red wine vinegar, and the sugar. Toss together. Let rest at room temperature for a few moments.


  14. Place a Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Add the beef when the pan approaches the smoking point.

  15. Stir to brown the meat. Add the cabbage mixture, the remaining salt, and the white pepper. Stir and allow the cabbage to wilt. About 3 minutes or so.

  16. Add the beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

  17. Add all of the other vegetables to the pot. Stir to combine, but don't be aggressive. Fold.

  18. Simmer for an hour and a half. (Bubbles should percolate constantly, but not rapidly.)

  19. Spoon the hot borscht into soup bowls; allow the veggies to mound near the center. Top with a generous tablespoon of the yogurt mixture and a sprinkling of dill.

  20. Step by Step: Readying Beets

  21. 1) Trim the beets, leaving the root and an inch of the stem.

  22. 2) Lay the beets on a foil sheet.

  23. 3) Top with another foil sheet, and fold the edges together to make a "pillow" of beets.

  24. 4) Pull the packet from the oven. Open carefully, and rub off the skins with gloved hands (to prevent stains) and/or a spoon or by scraping with a paring knife.

  25. 5) Trim the top end...

  26. 6) ...and the root end.

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