Borscht (Beet Soup)

A recipe for Borscht (Beet Soup) from author Ellen Alpsten inspired by her novel, TSARINA.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Smetana (sour cream), for topping
  • Sliced rye bread and roast beef,  for serving


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add beets, carrots, and potatoes, and sauté, stirring occasionally,  until vegetables are softened. 
  2. While vegetables are sautéing, bring broth and water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the soft vegetables, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaf.  With a handheld blender or food processor, blend the liquid and vegetables into a thick soup .
  4. Serve soup warm topped with a generous dollop of smetana (sour cream), and rye bread with roast beef on the side.


Recipe adapted from