Chicken Borscht

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After my mother died, I had the enormous task of sorting through her things and emptying the condo. It took me ages before I finally sat down to go through her recipes. Like her daughter, Mama had piles of recipes she had set aside and meant to try one day. When I found this one for chicken borscht I knew I had to try it.

This chicken borscht was copied some time ago, judging from her firm penmanship. It lacks the smears and splatters that indicate a recipe has been prepared at least once.

The pinkish-red Chioggia beets at the Coronado Farmers Market looked lovely and fresh, with their candy-cane striped insides. Any kind of beet would work here, however, and I’m thinking of trying my favorite golden beets for the next batch.

I made my usual tweaks to the recipe – dicing instead of grating the beets, and using a bouquet garni instead of a bay leaf – and decided this first batch of soup in the new year would be made in my mother’s honor. I think she would have approved.

Serves 8

  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces (large dice)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of low sodium chopped tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh beets, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces (large dice)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped (medium dice)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped (medium dice)
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized cabbage, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium tomato paste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (small dice)
  • 6 sprigs each of fresh thyme, flat-leaved parsley and fresh dill, tied together
  • kosher salt and/or ground pepper
  • low-fat sour cream, fresh dill sprigs (optional garnish)

1. Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the stock and chicken and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Add to the stock the potatoes, tomatoes, beets, onion, cabbage, vinegar, tomato paste, garlic and herb bundle. Season with salt and/or pepper. Cover pot and cook on low for 30 minutes.

4. Cut the cooked chicken off the bone and use your fingers to shred into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the soup and simmer for 20 more minutes.

5. Remove herb bundle and discard. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill. Serve.

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23 Responses to Chicken Borscht

  1. TasteFood January 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    What a wonderful variation of borscht. I love the chunky presence of vegetables and chicken.

    • lizthechef January 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      See what I mean about beets on the brain for us both?

  2. Sonali- The Foodie Physician January 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    What a lovely post. This looks like a delicious and hearty meal and those beets are so pretty!

    • lizthechef January 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks, Sonali – will be supper tonight with some crusty bread and a salad.

  3. sippitysup (@sippitysup) January 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Recipes can be a window into thw soul of those we love. Thanks for this peek into you mother’s GREG

  4. Mary Constant January 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Wonderful sounding and looking recipe…those beets are gorgeous! I just happen to have some(plain) beets and I have never made borsch so I am going to make this.

    • lizthechef January 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      We’re having it for supper – the vinegar gives a nice tang to the thick soup. Any beets will work here –

  5. Sunchowder - Wendy Read January 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Your Momma would have approved 🙂 I am looking forward to trying this soup, I adore beets! Luckly we purchase them by the case with greens on for my pickling!

    • lizthechef January 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks, Wendy – we are still enjoying your jams. Hiding the raspberry-chocolate in the fridge – who wants to share?!

  6. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Just realized you’re hosting Dianne J in a month or so as part of the SDFBlogger’s group. And I happen to live in Mission Hills/Hillcrest. Signing up! Not sure how I missed it…or don’t “know” you….we’re neighbors it sounds like!

    • lizthechef January 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Wonderful! Hop to it – only 1-2 spots left. Do you need the link?

  7. Rustic Garden Bistro January 12, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Beautiful beets! What a lovely tribute to your mom, too. She had lovely penmanship.

    I once tried making a version of this soup after I had harvested an entire row of beets from the yard. It was not as pretty as yours. 🙂

    [K]

    • lizthechef January 12, 2012 at 8:35 am #

      Kim, It might be even prettier if you used orange or red beets – the Chioggia ones kind of fade the more you simmer the soup. Good luck!

  8. Oui, Chef January 13, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Lovely photos, Liz and a great sounding recipe!

    • lizthechef January 13, 2012 at 8:04 am #

      Thanks, Steve, and Happy New Year to you and your family –

  9. The Wimpy Vegetarian January 13, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I love any kind of beet soup. This looks delicious, Liz!! Your mom would definitely have approved 🙂

    • lizthechef January 13, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks, Susan, I will make this again – and it freezes beautifully. Trying to have homemade “loso” soup around all winter.

  10. casacks January 13, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    This looks so hearty and delicious, and such a heartfelt post.

    • lizthechef January 13, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Carol, I’m still so impressed with the boule you and your daughter baked earlier this week.

  11. Winnie January 14, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    Such a sweet post, Liz. I love borscht but almost never make it- i love the chicken in here…such a nice way to add protein and make it really hearty.

    • lizthechef January 14, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks, Winnie, I laways love the winter/cold weather soups that you post – they inspire me.

  12. Eat well, live free January 15, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    What a treasure to have your mom’s recipes. I have my moms poems. I adore borscht too, thanks for the great recipe, I’ve never made it before!

    • lizthechef January 16, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      The poems sound like a treasure – hope you try my mom’s recipe…

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