A whiter shade of borscht

Posted Nov 1st, 2010 in Recipes

A whiter shade of borscht

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They aren't exactly the life of the vegetable party. But beets and cabbage are solid members of my favourite food group. They're hearty, packed full of goodness and never short on flavour even if they get a bad rap from some or conjure up bad childhood memories from around the dinner table. Still, in my world, beets and cabbage have been known to work some serious magic, especially in borscht. If ever there were soul mates, these veggies are it. Problem is, much as I love brightly coloured borscht, unless I'm dressed entirely in magenta when I eat it, my clothing bears telltale signs I've been dining on the soup that put the Ukraine on the culinary map. I wind up a candidate for a laundry detergent commercial. But I've found a solution to satisfying my craving for this substantial soup while staying stain free. It came to me yesterday as I rummaged through my veggie drawer and found several white beets from my visit to Linda's last week: white borscht. I ate it for lunch today and my clothes got through the experience unscathed — a victory for my husband who does the laundry and for my tastebuds, which got to savour one of my favourite soups. If someone has already come up with this idea, my apologies for giving myself a pat on the back for this concoction that's a klutz's dream. Here's my take on it and the only thing better than eating it is roasting the beets first. They fill the kitchen with a beautiful smoky, earthy sweet scent that smells like warm sugar. If only the proverbial 'they' could bottle that soul soothing aroma...

White Borscht


  • 1 lb white beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • A good hunk of butter (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 yellow tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dillseed
  • One-quarter of a medium head of green cabbage Fresh dill (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)


Coat beets in olive oil and roast in the oven at 400°F for about 45 minutes or until skins loosen and beets are tender.

Let cool, then remove skins and dice beets.

Melt butter over low heat and add diced onion and carrots, cooking until onions are translucent and carrots start to soften.

Add beets and tomatoes, cooking for another five minutes.

Add stock, vinegar, sugar and dill seed.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for about 15 minutes, until carrots are nearing tender.

Add the cabbage and simmer another 10 minutes.

Serve garnished with fresh dill and a dollop of sour cream.

by Tiffany Mayer


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