Beef, Beet and Cabbage Borscht


Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen AdventuresThis was all I ever wanted to eat growing up, and I still crave it more than I care to admit. This Eastern European cabbage soup is really more of a schi than a borscht, but why quibble over names? In America in the ’60s, unless you were Russian, this was borscht. Funny how that works. It’s a meal in a bowl to be sure, but small portions are a great starter. I have been making this for decades; it’s a battle-tested classic. —Andrew Zimmern Slideshow: Hearty Stews 

Beef, Beet and Cabbage Borscht
Photo: © Stephanie Meyer
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs
6 to 8


short ribs

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds English-cut beef short ribs

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 8 cups beef stock, chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth


  • 1/2 tablespoon juniper berries

  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

  • 2 dill sprigs

  • 2 oregano sprigs

  • 2 parsley sprigs

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 beets (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and diced

  • 1 small rutabaga (1/2 pound), peeled and diced

  • 1 leek, diced

  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)

  • 1/2 pound carrots, diced

  • 2 celery ribs, diced

  • 1/2 head savoy cabbage (1 pound), cored and shredded

  • Half of a 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes and their juices

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • Sour cream, chopped dill and grated horseradish, for serving


prepare the short ribs

  1. In a heavy medium pot, heat the oil. Add the short ribs and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Transfer the short ribs to a baking sheet and let cool. Strain the broth through a fine sieve. Discard the beef bones and dice the meat.

meanwhile, prepare the borscht

  1. Wrap the juniper berries, peppercorns, coriander seeds, dill, oregano and parsley sprigs in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie tightly into a bundle. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the beets, rutabaga, leek, onion, carrots, celery, cabbage and the herb-spice bundle. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and the cabbage is wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer for 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in the strained beef broth and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the vinegar and the chopped meat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the borscht with sour cream, chopped dill and horseradish.

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