The savory soup called borscht, made with beets and a little meat, is a staple on Polish Christmas Eve. It’s delicious and very easy to make. It is also vegan, dairy and egg-free and can be eaten at any time of year – not just on Christmas Eve!
Red borscht is made with beets and a vegetable stock. It can be served cold or hot. This is an excellent meal for lunch or dinner, and is a great way to use up any leftover beets from your garden or grocery store.
If you have leftovers from making the borscht, freeze it in a freezer-friendly container and label it with the date to keep it fresh. When you’re ready to enjoy it, just reheat the soup in a pot over a low heat and serve!
How to Make Beet Kvass and Zakwas
There is a key ingredient that makes this soup special: the beet kvass. It’s a fermented beet juice that can be made weeks in advance. You can find it at most Polish supermarkets and in some restaurants.
It is a little bit hard to find outside of Poland, but it can be made at home using the ingredients you’ll find in this recipe. The key is to allow the beet kvass to ferment (in a jar or crock) before you cook it, so that the flavour is fully developed and the juice becomes smooth and sweeter.
You can also replace the beet kvass with vinegar, but the resulting soup will lack the subtle earthy notes of the kvass and be less sweet. It also won’t have the lovely, burgundy colour that is characteristic of the beets.
How to Make Beet Kvass
There’s a simple method for making beet kvass that can save you a lot of work and effort: simply add about 1 cup of the beet kvass to the vegetable stock when you start cooking your soup. It will help to bring out the flavour of the beets, and it will also give your soup a nice colour, similar to a wine.
For best results, the kvass will need to ferment at least two weeks in advance of you cooking your beet borscht. It is also better to make this soup on a day that you will be eating it, since the kvass will need to be very warm when you add it to the soup.
When you’re ready to eat your beet borscht, it will need to be heated and topped with some mashed potatoes. This is a traditional way to serve it, and it adds a rich, cheesy texture that you can’t get with the concentrate alone!
To make this dish, you’ll need a beet and a carrot. To prepare the beet, peel and dice. You’ll need garlic, lemon juice, sugar and salt, plus a little pepper. After chopping the vegetables, add them to your stock and simmer for about 10 minutes. The borscht will be done when it is tender but not too soft. You’ll want to serve it with optional boiled potatoes, and garnish with chopped dill!