By Christy Milan
Borscht soup celebrates the beet with various other vegetables and meat complimenting the soup with their flavors. The rich red color makes a colorful addition to any Christmas dinner. Borscht is Ukrainian in origin but other countries as well as cooks have their own versions. Traditional Borscht is usually made with beet root, carrots, beef stock, garlic, potatoes, cabbage, tomato paste, bay leaf, sour cream and other culinary plants. The common hogweed was the main ingredient before it was replaced with beet root. The sour cream may be added when served or it may be served in a separate bowl. Dill, parsley, chives or scallions are sprinkled on the top as well. Some dishes have been spiced up with hot peppers or added garlic. Borscht can also be served with hard boiled eggs halved and quartered and placed on top of the dish.
In Ukraine and Poland, Borscht soup is usually served during Christmas Eve dinner. The traditional soup is meatless and without sour cream due to exclusions in using land-animal ingredients. Even so the health benefits and beauty of this soup make it perfect for a Christmas meal. With the variations of different vegetables, the flavors can combine to create unique tastes. Each ingredient the cook uses can change the flavors. The vegetables used are anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, fiber and iron. There are several health benefits in regards to eating Borscht. The nutrients in the beets alone are said to benefit the reduction of blood pressure, aid in stomach, liver and heart protection as well as cleanse the blood.
A study in 2013 that was published in The American Heart Association Journal, discussed the discovery of high blood pressure dropping 10mm Hg after consuming 8 oz of beet juice. The subjects experienced the benefits after 3 hours of drinking the juice. A compound contained in the beet is dietary nitrate that can improve blood flow and help the blood vessels relax.
Another helpful compound called Betaine helps protect the liver and reduces a harmful substance known a Homocysteine. Homocysteine contributes to strokes harmful substance known a Homocysteine. Homocysteine contributes to strokes and heart disease. The compound Betaine
is a harmful substance known a Homocysteine. Homocysteine contributes to strokes and heart disease. The compound Betaine increases the levels of stomach acids in people who are deficient. The main ingredient in borscht, beets, helps to create red blood cells and cleanses the blood.
Not only is this soup beautiful for a Christmas dinner but it also provides many health benefits that everyone needs. Beets were even served when Apollo 18 met up with Soyuz 19. They served Borscht.
This soup can of course be served anytime of the year. With so many variations of seasonings, vegetables and meats, you are sure to find a combination that warms and nourishes you heart, body and soul.
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 beets, peeled and chopped or 2 large beets
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup baby carrots, cut into small bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth, may require more
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup sour cream, as garnish
1. Place beef, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic in a slow cooker. Whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, dill weed, parsley, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over the beef and vegetables, adding more broth to cover as needed.
2. Cover and cook on Low for 8 1/2 hours, or High for 4 hours.
3. Set heat to High, and then stir in the shredded cabbage. Cover and continue cooking until the cabbage tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream.
As mentioned above, you may omit or add anything you may like to make a special unique taste for your family.