Lynette Suchar's Baba’s borshtch (Grandma’s beet soup)

Image for Lynette Suchar's Baba’s borshtch (Grandma’s beet soup)

Few dishes are as personal to a family as borscht, or borshtch. For writer Lynette Suchar, the bright red beet juice might as well be the blood that runs through her, as she grew up tending and picking vegetables from the garden with her grandmother. Here's her grandmother's borshtch recipe. 

The ketchup in the recipe is Lynette's Baba’s secret ingredient, but it's optional. You can add homemade ketchup or tomato sauce for the flavour and sweetness if you'd like.

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 bay leaves, optional
1/2 tsp dried thyme, optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable stock, more if desired
4 to 5 big beets, peeled and grated
1 cup cooked white beans, for convenience, use canned beans, as Lynette's grandmother did
1/2 cup ketchup, or more to taste
1 cup fresh dill
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thaw if frozen

Heat a tablespoon of oil (Lynette usually uses avocado or grapeseed) in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for a minute.

Add stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Then, lower heat to a simmer and then add grated beets. Do not boil beets or the borshtch will turn orange. 

Reduce heat to low or medium-low. Add beans and ketchup (if using), and any other seasoning you would like. Cook for about a half hour. When beets are almost cooked through, add dill. Lynette tastes as she goes, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Once beets are cooked, usually an hour or so, add thawed peas to heat through.

Enjoy with sour cream on top or the way Lynette does, topping with a little extra dill.


8 to 10 servings