Beet Borshch - Traditional Hungarian Style

Image Borscht This recipe is adapted from the book “Traditional Ukrainian Cooking” by Savella Stechishin.

I eliminated the green beans and white beans called for in the recipe, and instead, increased the cabbage.

There are two key flavor ingredients that are absolutely necessary when making real Hungarian beet borshch. The first is home-made beef stock. The second is traditional lacto-fermented beet juice kvass, which provides the “tang” or sour-notes of flavor, sadly replaced with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in modern recipes.

The beet juice kvass offers the best well-rounded “acid”, giving this recipe a truly authentic, old-world flavor.

I love serving the borshch with feta-cheese gougeres – little French cheese puffs – for my own modern twist.

It is assumed all ingredients are organic and preferably biodynamic for the maximum nutrients, and lowest exposure to industrial-farming toxins.

I usually make a quadruple batch of this recipe – easy to do as there are no major adjustments needed to the ingredients or spices. This recipe keeps well, and becomes even richer and more complex in flavor after a few days of refrigerated storage. Enjoy!


  • 1 – 1/2 pounds soup meat with bone
  • 10 to 12 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium beets, cut in thin strips (for extra flavor, julienne the lacto-fermented beets from the Pickl-It beet juice kvass
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in thin strips
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3/4 cup strained tomatoes or tomato juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, if desired
  • 1 tablespoon flour (optional, only if thicker borshch is desired)
  • 1/4-cup beet juice kvass
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  1. Cover the meat with the cold water, add the salt, bring slowly to the boiling point, then skim. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. (It’s a good idea to cook meat one day before adding vegetables; allow broth to cool. Then skim off fat before adding vegetables).
  2. Add the onion and beets; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the beets are almost done. If young beets are used, cook them together with the other vegetables. If beets from the Pick-It beet kvass are used, add them during the last 4-5 minutes of simmering, just enough to warm them through.
  3. Add the carrot, potato, celery; continue cooking for about 10 minutes.
  4. Finally put in the cabbage and cook until it is tender. Do not overcook.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes or tomato juice and the crushed garlic.
  6. Blend the flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water, spoon into it some soup liquid, and then stir into the borshch. If a thickened borshch is not desired, omit the flour.
  7. Add beet kvass
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to the boiling point. Flavor it with the chopped dill.
  9. Just before serving, add a dollop of sour cream and a “splash” of Pickl-It beet kvass.