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Winter Borscht

From Chef Gail Simmons’ cookbook, Bringing It Home, this hearty and colorful Winter Borscht is certain to warm up the coldest days. If you don’t have a food processor, simply quarter and thinly slice the beets and celery root. The beauty of this soup is it can be meat-friendly (by using beef broth and adding brisket) or vegetarian (by skipping the brisket).

Winter Borscht
Serves 6 to 8


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 medium beets, scrubbed (not peeled) and trimmed, then shredded using a food processor
1 small celery root, peeled and shredded using a food processor
1 large carrot (not peeled), thinly sliced into rounds
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups water
1/2 small red cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4 cups)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 medium sweet potato (not peeled), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Chopped fresh dill, for serving
Coarsely ground black pepper, for serving
Sour cream, for serving, optional
Shredded brisket, for serving, optional


1. In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high, heat oil. Add the onion and salt and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomato paste, bay leaves, paprika, and caraway seeds to coat. Add beets, celery root, and carrot. Stir in the broth and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.

2. Stir in the cabbage, apple, and sweet potato and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cabbage, apple, and sweet potato are just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook to blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.

3. Serve hot, topped with dill, pepper, and oil. Add sour cream and brisket, if desired.

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