Easy Polish Beet Borscht Soup (Barszcz Czysty Czerwony) Recipe

Beet Soup
Beet Soup. Natasha Belikova / Getty Images
    60 mins
Ratings (27)

This easy clear red beet soup (barszcz czysty czerwony) recipe gets the desired hint of sourness from lemon juice or vinegar and is great eaten hot with boiled potatoes or cold with rye bread.

Traditional beet soups get their sourness from a kwas. Barszcz in Polish means "borscht." Barszcz is sometimes made with a kwas or sour starter and is usually red (made with fermented beets known as a kwas buraków) or white (made with fermented rye flour or bread known as a żur or kwas chlebowy). 

This meatless soup is often served with mushroom uszka ("little ear" dumplings) for Polish Christmas Eve dinner known as wigilia, when it is known as barszcz wigilijny.

White Barszcz

White borscht, known as biały barszcz or żurek wielkanocny (Easter sour soup) is made with white kiełbasa cooking water, potatoes, sour cream, sausage, hard-cooked eggs and a żur, similar to a kwas, only a żur (also known as kwas chlebowy) is made by fermenting rye flour or bread with water in a jar or crock for up to five days.

More Polish Beet Recipes

What You'll Need

  • 4 beets, washed, or 2 cups sliced canned or jarred beets
  • 4 cups meat or vegetable stock
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Chopped fresh dill for garnish

How to Make It

  1. If using fresh beets, heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap 4 beets in aluminum foil and roast until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and slice into strips or julienne.
  2. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups meat or vegetable (if fasting) stock to boil, add cooked and sliced beets or 2 cups sliced canned or jarred beets, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 10 minutes.
  1. Serve hot with boiled potatoes and chopped dill for garnish, or cool quickly in an ice-water bath and refrigerate to serve cold garnished with dill and sour cream. Cold creamed beet soup is known as barszcz zabielany