Agnes’ Secret Borscht


Back to D.C., the big guy and the kids were all down with some sorts of virus. Guess who whined the most? Yup, you got that right! The big guy took a day off work, lied on bed, and sheepishly hinted: “A bowl of borscht would be really nice”. Okay, it was too late to ring Agnes, so I quickly googled the recipe.

Hah! I always thought this red beetroot soup was a Polish classic (Andrei would probably throw a couple of rotten tomatoes at me right now), but it is actually a hot debate between the Polish and Russian folks. I guess it’s the same thing about pisco sour between the Chilean and Peruvian. I myself could feel blood rushing to my face whenever someone suggests my phở (beef noodle soup) comes from China or France.

So, let’s steer clear away from this controversial issue. I’m making a beetroot soup whether it is called “borscht” or “barszcz”. After consulting a few sites, I ended up with a recipe from the Guardian. Given the author had had extensive research on this soup, the recipe must be good. It turned out to be a very yummy and hearty (and a bit on the heavy side) soup. Both my hubby and I still prefer Agnes’ version, which tastes tangier, lighter, and the broth is much clearer.

Agnes, what’s your SECREEETTTTTT? This is the recipe sent with tons of love from Agnes’ kitchen. I also include the recipe from The Guardian below if you want to give it a try.


Agnes’ Secret Borscht

3 liters of chicken broth
1 onion (chopped)
5 red beet roots (chopped)
5 carrots (chopped)
1/2 medium cabbage (chopped)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes

  1. Add all ingredients to a large pot and simmer for 3 hours.
  2. Before serving, add at least half a bunch of chopped parsley and dill.
  3. Best eaten the next day with a spoonful of sour cream.

Beetroot Soup (Borscht or Barszcz)

Adapted from The Guardian

3 lbs beef bones (cooked with about 2 liters of water for 3 hours, reserved the stock)
3 big red beet roots, the size of an avocado (about 400g, peeled, and diced)
50g butter
1 small onion (peeled and diced)
1 small carrot (peeled and diced)
1 stick of celery (peeled and diced)
1 small leek (peeled and diced)
1 bay leaf
1 medium potato (peeled and diced)
1/4 large cabbages (shredded)
4 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
3 tbs cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Dills (chopped, optional – for decoration)
Sour cream (optional)

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot,and then soften the onion over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, leek, celery, diced beetroot, and bay leaf and stir well to coat with butter. Cook for another 10 minutes, adding a little stock if the vegetables begin to look dry.
  3. Pour in the rest of the stock and the potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage, and garlic. Cook until all the vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).
  5. Add the vinegar, sugar, pepper and a pinch of salt and taste.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, a sprig of dill, and some bread on the side.