Barszcz Can't Be Beet

Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The past few days have been getting pretty warm. At least 90 with humidity that sort of resembles the first few seasons of Lost. It doesn't bother me for the most part, and I can deal with the heat easier than the cold, especially when I come on home and reach for a cold...


Yup, soup. There is something always nice about soup, and actually I think meatless ones are better. They aren't cluttered with foreign objects, and they have most of the same texture throughout. It's like a nice, streamlined, homogeneous mix that goes great on a hot summer day. And what's better on a hot day? Cold Soup :) It's refreshing, it's easy to bring to work, and it's always fun to explain to people. Especially when it's purple.

I've always thought Beets are a very underrated vegetable. They are tough to cook, they are tricky to peel, and they have this earthly, sweet flavor that sometimes just doesn't quite fit in. It's a Rudolph of vegetables, and I like that.

But, if you do like beets (and if you've never tried... well you need to remedy that pronto), they will pay you back in spades. They go great with a little spice, or a little sour, and even some kind of diary like cream and/or cheese. Feta cheese with beets? Works. Lemon oil? Works. Touch of black pepper and vinegar? You have my full attention :)

So, anyways, back to the cold soup. The king of beet soups is barszcz. Well, actually, Choldnik is another word to use, but we never really used it. You could search for either on the internet. It has Polish/Russian/Urkraine roots from thousands of years back, and variations of this recipe are endless. Sometimes the soup is just beets, while others it includes many different vegetables.

In my quest to always have tons of fiber and vegetables in my diet (strive for five), I like to incorporate a few different ones, while still keeping the soup simple. It makes it a little more filling, while still keeping it light and satisfying on a summer day. You can choose to leave the veggies in the soup, or strain them out and just use the beets and broth. It's your choice :)

Adam's Barszcz (Beetroot Soup - Hot or Cold)
Dr. Adam

-2 pounds peeled, raw beets, grated, or cut into 1/8 strips or slices (about 4 medium ones, or a 2 16 oz canned) - just watch your hands... purple fingers are not fun
-2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8 strips

-1 celery stalk, chopped

-1 small onion, chopped fine

-2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

-1 Tbs olive oil

-3 cups water or vegetable broth

-1 tsp white vinegar
-1 Tbsp lemon juice

-1 tsp sugar
-Salt, Black Pepper, Dill, parsley to taste
-Sour cream to garnish

In a large sauce pan, add the olive oil over medium heat, with the onions and garlic. Stir them around until they start to sweat and release their awesome aromas, about 5 minutes. Just make sure they don't burn. Carefully add the carrots and celery, and let cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften.

Add the beets and water/stock, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, and let it simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, or until are the vegetables are almost softened.
At this time, you can choose to discard any vegetables you'd like, or leave them all in, like I did here. After this, add the vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar, and cook for another 10 minutes uncovered.

Remove from heat, and add the salt, pepper, dill, and parsley to taste. The last two herbs can be added to each serving bowl as nesseccary, in case someone doesn't like them. Let this chill for a hot summer day, or serve warm if you're a bit on the chillin side.
Top with a little low fat sour cream, and you're all set to go. Serves 4-6.

This is one of my favorite soups, so let me know what you think. It's open to all kinds of interpretation, and maybe you know of a couple that are a bit different. I think we can all agree though, it's a good looking soup, and if you've never had beets before, I think it captures it pretty well. It can also be served with uszka, but I think I'll save that for another post :) Have a great week good buddies!

Comments (24)

This soup looks so pretty - what a beautiful color.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Beet soup! One of my favorites - although I have never had it cold, and I was just thinking about doing a cold one the other day! So your post confirms that I MUST!

Mmmm beets! My favorite way to eat them is with swiss chard (or spinach), goat cheese, and garlic vinegarette. I've been thinking about doing a cold soup lately. Maybe I will try this.

I m not a big fan of beets . Surely it s an interesting recipe.

Adam, you make beets look so good. I've never been a fan, though my mom was and always tried her darnest to get me to eat them. Maybe I'll give it another go. You make them look good enough to eat.

I am a huge beat fan, I just love them. The color alone is amazing! I love them roasted and I even enjoy the greens! I will put this recipe on my to do list. Great one!

Dr Adam! You know I'm a fan of beets (or beetroot as we say here) since way back in the day. I enjoy meatless soups too - I feel like you can keep and reheat them for longer and there's less chance of fat content...your soup sounds delish and looks it too :)

this is one interesting recipes. i just tried beets recently (in a veggie burger recipe).

i might have to have mine at room temp... cold soups make my teeth hurt!

(and i so thought you were going to say cold.... beer. how easily i'm fooled. :) )

I haven't tried beets since I was little, but this yummy post has me wanting to give them another try!

I love barszcz, cold or hot... I make also beetroot smoothie from Yogurt, beets and some apple juice, for non sweet version you can also add some chives or garlic ;)

Oh Doc Adam, if this is your prescription for my sleepless nights, I'm gonna eat 'em up!! love the red color! so sexy LOL

Oh yeah, soups are good all year round. In Mexico we eat them all the time no matter how hot it is outside. And when they are cold and delicious like this one there's no reason to say no :-p

Great recipe Dr. Adam :)

Mmmm, I love anything with beets, and I adore cold beet soup!! I am SO excited about trying your recipe! Thank you for the gorgeous dish!!

P.S. Yea, I agree... I'm a Southern gal, I should always call cornmeal mush grits... ;-) Thanks for sticking up for grits! :-)

I love beets! I used to hate them thanks to trying them at a buffet. Never try something new a buffet because the food is so bad even the dessert suck..haha. I like the high beet to liquid ratio!

Ooh, lovely. We didn't have this that much growing up, but i didn't like beets either so maybe I just don't remember! I love em now though, so I can't wait to make this :) You should check out my xmas posts, I got to make some of our family favorites (pierogies and barszca)! You probably have your own recipes, but it'd be neat to compare!

how interesting!!! :)

I love beets but have never had a beet soup before warm or cold. I shall certainly put this in my list to try. I would definitely serve this with katiki which is a Greek cheese not so well known and is something between feta and sour cream.

Wow, the soup is so colorful and beautiful. I bet it was delicious. I haven't had beets in a long time. They're under-appreciated.

Thank you for the pun! NOthing like a good food pun.

You're on your own with the whole beet soup thing...... But I totally feel you on referencing an episode of Doug. How could you resist??? High five! :D

Oh dear Adam, I'm all up for cold soups as well! But my kind are strawberry soup, mango soup, caramel soup, chocolate soup... you get the idea!

I wish we had warmer days. Nice salad. We will not get beets for a while. Can't wait because I love them.

I used to despise beets, albeit of the canned variety. My parents tried coaxing me to eat them with promised of "rosy lips". No go. In retrospect, it was the moldy smell I didn't like. Anyway, I tried some fresh beets, cooked them up, and was blown away!
I've never made cold soup before, but I like the sound of this.

I must say, I'm not a fan of beets. I think I've given them a fair shot. Even when the pan fried with other vegetables I like, their flavour doesn't entice me. But the colour you get from them is so beautiful!

Is barszcz another spelling for borcht? That's what I know it to be.