From the Season Pantry and Eat This Now Archives, soups for the season.

In today’s Seasonal Pantry, I promised to post my version of borscht and so, here it is:

A Borscht Inspired By the Ukraine & the North Coast

Borscht is almost always made with red beets

Today’s column features recipes for two soups, Golden Beet with Burrata and Beet with Chickpeas & Farro, neither of which qualify for the name of borscht, at least not in my lexicon. But they are delicious and perfect in cold weather.

A friend and colleague, Stephanie Rosenbaum, who also happens to be a favorite writer, posted a recipe for her borscht, a Chanukah tradition, a couple of weeks ago. If you’re looking for a vegetarian version–most borscht includes beef stock and often beef–you’ll be thrilled with this one.

Stephanie Rosenbaum’s Winter Borscht (vegetarian)

Clear borscht is also a traditional soup often served at this time of year. It can be chilled or hot and sometimes has sour cream stirred into it, which turns it shocking pink, like a plastic flamingo. I prefer the clear version without the sour cream stirred in and find it makes a great first course for a holiday dinner party. Even people who don’t care for beets often love it.

Chilled Ruby Borscht

Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 medium red beets, roasted until tender, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • Boiling water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups homemade beef stock or vegetarian mushroom stock
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar, if needed
  • Creme fraiche, optional
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  1. Cut the beets into thin rounds. Set 1 round aside, put the rest into a deep bowl, add the peppercorns and caraway and cover with boiling water, adding enough that the beets are completely submerged. Add the vinegar. Cover and let stand at cool room temperature for at least 1 day and as long as three days.
  2. To finish the soup, strain the liquid off the beets into a clean bowl. Put the stock into a separate bowl and stir a cup of the beet broth into it. Taste and add more beet broth to achieve a pleasing but not overpowering flavor. Correct for salt. If the soup tastes a bit flat, add about a half teaspoon of sugar, stir and taste again. Add a bit more vinegar if needed for balance. Cut the reserved slice of beet into very thin matchsticks.
  3. To serve, ladle the soup into pretty soup plates. If using creme fraiche, stir it to loosen it and swirl a little over each portion and top with a few matchsticks of beets. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.