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French Cold Beet Soup (aka Borscht)

April 21, 2021
French Cold Beet Soup (aka Borscht)

For as long as I have been writing about food I have thought about the cycles of the Jewish year and how seasonality impacts what Jews have traditionally eaten. After all, before globalism, before localism, before organic, before refrigeration, before the microwave, we all had to live by the seasons.

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  • 2pounds raw beets (about 4)
  • 1pound onions (2 medium)
  • 2cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup sour cream, crème fraîche, or good yogurt
  • 4tablespoons fresh dill, chervil, or mint cut in chiffonade
Yield: 6-8 servings


  • Step 1

    Peel the beets and the onions. Cut them in chunks and toss them together in a large soup pot. Pour in about 2 quarts of water or enough to cover the vegetables by an inch or so.

  • Step 2

    Add the garlic, sugar, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, skimming the surface of any impurities that rise. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour or until the beets are cooked.

  • Step 3

    When the soup cools, ladle the vegetables and some of their broth with the vinegar into a blender and purée until the consistency of a thick soup. Adjust the thickness and seasoning of the soup to your taste, adding the reserved beet broth if you want a thinner soup.

  • Step 4

    Serve cold in soup bowls with a dollop of the sour cream, crème fraîche, or yogurt and a sprinkle of the dill, chervil, or mint.