Red borscht (Barszcz czerwony)

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4 Beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Stalk Celery, roughly chopped
2 Cups Shredded Red Cabbage
3 Sprigs Thyme
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper, to taste
9 Cups Water
3/4 Cup Reserved Mushroom Liquid, see below




Trim and scrub the beets, leaving at least 1″ of stem.
Loosely wrap them in foil and roast in a 400ºF oven for 1 hour, or until fork tender.
Once the beets are cool enough to handle, trim the stems and peel. Chop the beets into small cubes.
In a large stockpot, heat the oil and sweat the onion and garlic.
Add the chopped carrot,celery and beets.
Top with the water, thyme sprigs, salt and cabbage.
Bring the pot to a rolling simmer and cook until the carrots are soft; about 40 minutes.
Strain the soup through a sieve into a new stockpot.
Pour the reserved mushroom liquid (see below) through a cheesecloth and add along with the fresh pepper, sugar and lemon, adjusting salt and other seasonings if and where necessary.
Keep warm on a low heat until ready to serve.

Mushroom liquid:
1 Cup Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Cup Boiling Water, or enough to cover mushrooms
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Leek, white and light green parts
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
1 teaspoon Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of Salt and Pepper


Pour the boiling water over the mushrooms to reconstitute. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.
Strain and reserve liquid.
Trim, rinse and finely chop the leeks.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.
Add the leeks and garlic, sautéing until soft.
Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the leeks along with the thyme, salt and pepper; sauté for 2 minutes more.
Remove from heat and add the parsley.

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