My Mom’s Borscht
I believe that cooking should be looked at as a hearty thing, as a homey thing, something that touches your soul, and the way a chef can do that is through the food and through the plate. So for me, cabbage, potatoes, beets, strawberries and cherries—these things speak through me much more so than ingredients like foie gras and Wagyu beef.
- 10 cups water
- 2 large or 3 medium beets, thoroughly washed
- 2 large or 3 medium potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ head cabbage (or beet greens), thinly chopped
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- Fill a large soup pot with the water. Add beets. Cover and boil for about 1 hour. Once you can smoothly pierce the beets with a butter knife, remove from the water and set aside to cool. Keep the water. Add chopped potatoes to the same water and boil 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Halfway through, add shredded cabbage.
- Heat vegetable oil in a skillet, add onions and carrots and sauté until soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in ketchup when they are almost done cooking.
- Next, peel and slice the beets into matchsticks and add them back to the pot. Add broth, lemon juice, pepper, bay leaves and can of kidney beans (with their liquid) to the pot. Add sautéed carrots and onion to the pot along with chopped dill. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the cabbage is done. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.