There’s nothing quite like a warm, hearty soup on a nasty winter day. And trust me, we Ukrainians know a thing or two about the cold. My grandmother, Lubov, has been making this classic Ukrainian beet soup for decades, improving upon the recipe given to her by her mother, Sonia, who got it from her mother, Sarah. She’s made it for her family, her grandchildren, and recently, her two great-grandchildren. And now, with love (Lubov means “love’ in Russian), she’s sharing it with you. It may be unusually warm now, but you’ll thank her when you start to see your breath outside, and believe me &- it will be sooner rather than later.
1 medium size beet grated
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion sliced very thin or grated
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup celery
2 cups peeled diced potatoes
3 cups shredded regular cabbage
6 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 4 cups water
2/3 cups imported Italian plum tomatoes with their juice
1 green bell pepper diced
1 garlic clove minced
Parsley or dill for garnish
1. Choose a stockpot that can comfortably accommodate all the ingredients. Put in the oil, butter, and sliced onion and turn the heat to medium low. Cook the onion in the uncovered pot until it wilts and becomes a pale gold colour, but no darker.
2. Add the grated beet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the diced carrots and cook stirring occasionally for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the celery, repeating the same procedure, then add the potatoes, stirring once and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Continue to give all ingredients an occasional stir then add the shredded cabbage. Continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes.
4. Add the broth, the tomatoes with their juice, and minced garlic. Salt lightly at this stage and taste and correct for salt later on. Give the contents of the pot a thorough stirring. Cover the pot, and lower the heat, adjusting it so that the soup bubbles slowly, cooking at a steady, but gentle simmer for 1 hour. Correct for salt.
5. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream. Garnish with parsley or dill.