Barszcz Czerwony; Polish Beetroot Soup

January 31st, 2009  | Print this page Print This Article
Barszcz - Polish Beetroot Soup

Barszcz - Polish Beetroot Soup

This bright red beetroot soup is popular throughout the whole of Eastern Europe and it’s easy to see why - the colour is stunning and the taste is delicious!

I’ve opted to cook the Polish version, Barszcz (pronounced barshch - the final sound is like the “shch” in “freshcheese”), for obvious reasons; my wife is Polish and can cook with far more authenticity than I could ever lay claim to.  Many people will be familiar with the Russian version called “borscht“, of which this is a variant.  Each country and each family seem to have their own way of cooking it, and I present you with ours.

I am submitting this recipe to the fantastic seasonal food blogging event “In The Bag” being held over at A Slice of Cherry Pie.  This January is the Detox Special and I urge you to check it out.

Barszcz Czerwony: Polish Beetroot Soup Recipe - Ingredients

Serves 4.  35 mins total cooking time.

  • 2 Litres of Chicken stock (fresh or from cube)
  • 10 medium size Beetroots (cooked, peeled and diced; you can use pre-packed beetroot for ease)
  • 2 Carrots - diced
  • 2 Parsnips - diced
  • 1/2 Celery stick - diced
  • 1/4 Leek - cut in half lengthways
  • 1/4 Onion, diced
  • Marjoram, finely chopped (you can use dried)
  • Bay Leaf
  • 2 Allspice Berries
  • Spirit Vinegar, to taste
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Barszcz Czerwony: Polish Beetroot Soup Recipe - Method

Note: Our version of the soup is fairly rustic with chunks of vegetables in the bowl for you to enjoy.  If you prefer, a crystal clear version can be made by puréeing all the vegetables at the start before adding to the stock, and filtering through a muslin cloth at the end.

  1. Heat chicken stock in a large pot.
  2. Place all vegetables, bay leaf and allspice into the stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until vegetables are soft (20 minutes approximately)
  3. Dice beetroots and place into the stock, making sure to add any leftover juice (don’t waste any - this really helps the colour)
  4. Add spirit vinegar - start with 1tbsp or so, this will prevent the colour from dulling, as well as giving a traditional sour flavour.
  5. Heat until beetroot is soft; add the marjoram about 5 minutes before finished.  Add salt & pepper to taste, along with more vinegar if needed.
  6. Ladle in bowls while hot and enjoy.  You could try this accompanied by mashed potato topped with lardons of fried bacon, as illustrated.  Delicious!
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13 Responses to “Barszcz Czerwony; Polish Beetroot Soup”

  1. mycookinghut says:

    Fantastic!! I have never had beetroot soup before!

  2. Soma says:

    Another great soup.

    Hey I did make those “plum covered chocolates” & will post soon. Do you mind if I link back to you for the original recipe? It was awesome, my hubby loved it!

  3. Shikishi says:

    ah, lovely. :) I must admit to being more familar with the Russian version (family line and all) but pretty much beetroot soup is a gorgeous, all season must have. Your recipe sounds lovely, and I may have to give it a try.

    Speaking of, have you ever had white borscht? I believe it is of Polish origin, but may be wrong. That also may not be it’s name either but it is what my Grandmother always translated it as and we always had big bowls of it along with bread to tide us over until mealtime on the Sundays we went to her house for dinner.

    • scott says:

      Hi Shikishi, I haven’t tried white borscht (barszcz), but my wife has had it many times, and confirms that, as far as she knows, it is Polish in origin. If you do try this recipe, make sure to let me know about it - I’d love to know how you get on!

  4. Alexx says:

    I wish I’d read this post earlier this afternoon :) I know what to make next time I have beetroot in my veg box!

  5. I have loved beetroot from the very beginning of my life. Of course we call them beets here in Canada but my parents are from Lincolnshire.

  6. Jeanne says:

    I must say, I have never been a fan of beetroot, but the one time I tried borscht I really did like it. So maybe it’s time to give the Polish version a whirl!

  7. Jeanne says:

    You got it - scarred for life (and probably stained for life too!!) by the pickled crap… I have grown to like roasted beetroot though…

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