This 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
Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm always make borscht around the holidays. One year, they had roasted fennel left over after a day of food styling and decided to add it to the soup pot; they've been making borscht with fennel ever since. They like their soup really sweet and sour, but you can adjust the vinegar and honey to your taste.
Brothy and brimming with beets, parsnips, turnip, celery root, and slices of kielbasa, this earthy beet soup gets a finishing touch of sour cream and fresh dill. Serve it in big bowls with plenty of crusty bread for an appetizing cold-weather dinner.
This luscious beet soup, served with a dollop of rich, tart sour cream and plenty of salady garnishes (cubed boiled potatoes, crunchy diced radishes, chopped hard-boiled eggs and fragrant, coarsely chopped dill), seems the very essence of Russian cooking: sustaining food that still carries hints of its homey peasant influences.