Is it really May already?!?!?!? We are a month and a half until summer but it still doesn’t feel like spring has arrived. As I write this, it is 54F and raining. Yes, 54F is not very cool but my internal thermostat is telling me to eat warm things, like borsch. Somehow, I managed to get through the entire winter without sharing this recipe. But now, it seems more fitting to share the recipe before it gets too hot out to enjoy the soup. This has been a family favorite for the past 3 years or so! When we traveled to Russia, we stayed with our neighbors and ate this soup very often. We loved this soup so much that upon our return, we made batch after batch. Now, on any cold day, we make this soup because it’s warm, comforting, and nutritious. The base of this soup consists of lentils and red beets. It also has cabbage, carrots, and leeks. While it may sound like a vegetable soup, it’s much more than that. This soup is a great way to add more vegetables and nutrients in your diet in a way that makes you intrigued by the international flair. So, here’s your taste of Russia!
- 1 cup dried green or black lentils
- 1 tablespoon ghee, or butter
- 3 leeks, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 Tbsp. dried, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1 ½ lbs. beets, peeled and chopped in 1inch cubes
- 3 medium carrots, slices in 1/4 inch rounds
- 2 cups shredded cabbage of your choice
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. dried juniper berries (about 12)
- 1 tsp. caraway seeds
- 8-10 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Yogurt, to serve
Soak lentils overnight or for up to 8 hours in pure water. Drain and rinse well. (You can skip this step if you are low on time but would need to cook the soup for longer)
In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the ghee. Add leeks and salt and cook until tender, about five minutes. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the bay leaves, thyme, juniper berries, caraway, tomato paste, and mustard, stirring to coat the leeks and garlic. Then, add the beets, carrots, 8 cups of vegetable broth, and lentils.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and vinegar, and let cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve the soup into bowls. Top with fresh thyme, black pepper, and yogurt. Serve hot.
This is an adaption from My New Roots