This healthy Polish Borscht Recipe (Christmas) is a traditional dish served with Polish Christmas Eve Porcini Dumplings (Uszka).
Polish Borscht Recipe (Christmas)
Christmas Eve borscht is for me the highlight of the Polish Christmas Eve meal. It is served as the first of 12 dishes (according to tradition) and I couldn’t imagine Christmas Eve without it. Having said that, customs can vary from region to region and many people in Poland prepare wild mushroom soup instead of borscht. Commonalities do exist though as wild mushrooms are also added to the Christmas Eve borscht (‘barszcz wigilijny‘).
Christmas borscht is a little different from everyday borscht (the one people tend to be more familiar with). At Christmas it is served without any vegetables, as broth really. It contains very few ingredients and is always vegetarian! Polish Christmas Eve has traditionally been meat free, though not vegetarian, as the meal consists of at least one fish dish.
How to make Polish Borscht Recipe (Christmas)
To most people (those who haven’t grown up with this tradition) this soup must seem a bit odd. After all, it’s just beets cooked with 2-3 mushrooms and not much else. This is why it’s important to add vinegar, soy sauce and a good amount of seasoning to bring out the flavour of the beetroot and add sharpness to this soup.
*Note: Although soy sauce is not a traditional ingredient in this recipe it complements the beetroot, adding complexity and more depth to the overall flavour.
What makes this soup truly special, however, are the porcini dumplings (‘uszka‘) that are served with it.
This Polish beet soup is a bit like the East European version of the wanton soup. Mostly liquid, with a few dumplings floating on top.
If you make the porcini dumplings to go with this barszcz reserve the water from cooking the mushrooms and add it into this soup. About 1/3 cup will suffice. If you choose this method you won’t need to add any mushrooms to the borscht.
Don’t miss my Polish Christmas Eve Porcini Dumplings (Uszka) on the blog tomorrow:)
- 4 medium beets peeled, cut in half
- 2 small marinated beets coarsely grated
- 1 small celery stick
- 1 small onion peeled, whole
- 1 garlic clove peeled, cut in half
- 2-3 large pieces dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed *see Recipe Notes below
- 2 allspice whole
- 1 tablespoon salt plus plenty of pepper
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, or other, but add gradually according to taste
- 1.5 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 - 2.25 l water
Place all the ingredients (apart from the butter and vinegar) in a large pot, cover and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Half way through add the vinegar. Remove from the heat and add the butter and soy sauce, adjust the seasoning, remove the vegetables and serve (only the liquid) with porcini dumplings (recipe on the blog TOMORROW!)
What to do with the leftover beets: you can grate them, add some oil, lemon juice, dill or coriander, season and serve as a veggie side dish (hot or cold).
If you make the porcini dumplings to go with this barszcz reserve the water from cooking the mushrooms and add it into this soup. About 1/3 cup will suffice. If you choose this method you won't need to add any mushrooms to the borscht.
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