You may be asking yourself, “What is white borscht?” Well that’s exactly what I asked myself when I walked into a small café and saw the soup of the day. Borscht is something I’ve made many times in the past, but it always has a distinct purple colour thanks to the beets. So what made it a white borscht? The waitress could obviously sense my confusion and she offered to give me a sample. After one sip I knew it was exactly what I was going to order for lunch. As it turns out, white borscht is a lot like beet borscht, just minus the beets!
It was so good, I came home that same day and tried to recreate it. I couldn’t find anything online that resembled the flavours or texture of the soup I’d had at the café, so I made it up. The result, although not exactly the same, was a delicious marriage of fresh dill, tender chunks of cabbage and potato and a light creamy broth. I topped it with a generous dollop of sour cream, more fresh dill and served it with warm cheddar biscuits (see biscuit recipe from this post). This may not be a traditional white borscht, but nonetheless, this soup is delicious and perfect for these cold Fall nights.
White Borscht Soup
Recipe by Kirsten, serves 6-8
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small green pepper, diced
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups of water
4 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 small head of green cabbage, (approx 600g), thinly sliced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of sour cream (I used light or 5%), plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped. If you don’t have fresh you can use dried dill – start with 1 teaspoon and adjust to taste.
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and green pepper for 5-8 minutes or until onions start to become translucent.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except the sour cream and fresh dill. Cook for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
3. Next stir in sour cream and fresh dill. To serve ladle into bowls and top with more sour cream and dill.
Note: one of my favourite grocery store finds was a tube of tomato paste; think of a toothpaste tube but filled with tomato paste. I’ve never made a recipe that called for the whole can of tomato paste and always ended up having to freeze the leftovers. The tube is perfect because you can use what you need then put the cap back on and it’s ready for the next time you need it.