Recipe taken from The International Table: Recipes from the Seattle Sister Cities

Similar to its Russian cousin, barshch is a soup with beet as its star ingredient. Unlike borscht,

this Polish soup is served warm, without sour cream, and with a tangy zip thanks to kwas,

a fermented starter with a vinegary flavor. Because fermented beets or fermented rye flour

are hard to come by in the US, red wine vinegar or lemon juice gives this recipe the soup’s

characteristic zing. Serves 6.



8 medium beets, washed

2 quarts water

3 carrots, cut into chunks

2 celery sticks, cut in half

2 parsley roots, parsnips, or 1 rutabaga

2 onions, peeled and quartered

¼ head savoy cabbage, chopped

5 peppercorns

salt, to taste

4 beef or vegetable bouillon cubes

2 Tbsp lemon juice or 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp sugar

ground black pepper, to taste

1 garlic clove, minced

fresh dill or parsley, for garnish (optional)



Prepare the beets: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the beets, wrap individually in aluminum foil, and place on a baking tray. Roast for 30–45 minutes or until tender. When the beats are cool enough to handle, peel and julienne.

Create the stock: In a large stock pot, over medium heat, simmer the carrots, celery, parsley root, onions, and cabbage with peppercorns and salt in 2 quarts of water for 30 minutes. Strain, preserving the stock, pressing the vegetables to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the vegetables. Return the stock to the pot, add the beef (or vegetable) bouillon cubes, and mix until dissolved.

Add the beets, lemon juice or red wine vinegar, sugar, ground black pepper, and garlic and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Serve with fresh dill or parsley