I’m always looking for innovative ways to use the heirloom tomatoes that are so prolific on our farm this time of the year. When I ran across a recipe for Tomato Borscht, I was a little confused. Wasn’t borscht a beetroot soup? I was intrigued.
A little research confirmed that borscht is indeed typically known as the Ukrainian soup made with beetroot as the main ingredient. In some Eastern and Central European countries however, borscht is made with tomatoes as the main ingredient with beetroot as a secondary ingredient. Apparently other non-beet varieties also exist (such as green borscht made with sorrel), but I’m focused on tomatoes right now, so I thought I’d try the tomato version of borscht.
I had recently bought some golden beets at the farmers’ market, so I made the soup with those rather than red beets. Golden beets are a little milder than red beets, and I think next time I make this I would use red beetroot for a more intense color and flavor.
(recipe adapted from Sofia Larrinua-Craxton)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 medium raw beets (about 10 oz.), peeled and finely grated
- 1 tsp freshly ground toasted cumin seeds (see note)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2-3 medium red robust heirloom tomatoes (like Box Car Willy, Thessoloniki, etc.), skinned and chopped
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (can soak in warm water first to soften before chopping)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in heavy pan over low heat. Gently cook onion for 4 minutes and add garlic and cook for another minute. Add beets and cook gently for 10 minutes longer, stirring from time to time, until softened but not browned.
- Add ground spices, tomatoes, tomato juice, and sun-dried tomatoes, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and let cool down a bit. Blend or process until velvety smooth. Add soy sauce and then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve either chilled, at room temperature, or slightly warmed. If you serve warm, reheat the soup gently over low heat. To serve, spoon into soup bowls and add a spoonful of sour cream or creme fraiche, and garnish with toasted cumin seeds
Note: For the best, most flavorful results, toast whole cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes until golden and aromatic. Grind to a powder and use immediately.
I liked this soup best at room temperature, as chilling food masks some of the flavor of foods in my opinion. I’ve never really cared much for beets on their own, but really enjoyed them in this soup. My husband thought it was a bit bland so I might add a little more cumin or other spices next time.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments on this soup or any other “borschts” that you have tried and enjoyed.