Sunday, February 5, 2012

Doukhobor Borscht


I am sorry little ogre. I have been neglecting you.

Life has been my excuse. A lot of thinking about life and a lot of trying to live life without thinking too much about life.

Wow. Okay. This isn't a philosophy blog. Although sometimes I wish it were.

So how about we analyze how dangerously delicious this soup is. I would like to tell you how healthy it is because there's a ton of vegetables in it, but there is also a cup of cream and almost a cup of butter. Yes, now you understand why it's delicious.

But this isn't your typical beet borscht, it's borscht by the Doukhobors. A group of Russians who immigrated to Canada, settling in southern BC where you can still find them in Grand Forks serving up this flavourful soup. I suppose all the cream and butter was meant to keep them warm during the winters. I'm totally guessing, but it's an educated guess, so I like to think it counts.


I will warn you though, if you plan on making this soup, dedicate a whole Sunday to it. It took me a whole 2.5 hours to make the soup, maybe even 3, and it's 3 hours of constantly doing stuff, prepping the vegetables and cooking them, but it is well worth it. This recipes makes a huge batch, so you might want to half the recipe, but if you're going to spend this long making something, you might as well make enough to last. You will also need a very big pot to make this soup. I like to freeze portion sizes so I can heat up a single serving of borscht whenever I like.

I'll try and make this process as easy as possible by breaking down the steps into "pot" segments. This will make it easer when you are prepping the vegetables as well. You are going to have three pots going on. The main big pot that all the ingredients will eventually go into, and as my roommates says "collaborate with each other", and two other pots to cook up the vegetables, before you put them into the main pot. I will call the main big pot, MAIN and then other ones RED and WHITE.


RED POT: 1/2 cup of butter, onion...


... then add canned tomatoes, grated carrot, half the beat (grated), half the green pepper.


WHITE POT: 2 tbsp of butter, half the cabbage.


MAIN POT: salted water, 2 potatoes cut in half, diced carrots and celery, half the beat.


...then take out tender potatoes and mash with 2 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of cream, 1/4 cup green onions and 1 tbsp of dill.


MAIN POT:Add the remaining cream, chopped potatoes and the other half of the uncooked cabbage. Bring this to a boil and then add in the tomato stew from the RED POT...


...and the cabbage from the WHITE POT and the mashed potatoes. Then add the rest of the green peppers, green onion and dill.


And voila! You have an intensely flavourful and delicious borscht.



Doukhobor Borscht
Makes a big pot of soup or serves 10 hungry people
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 can of 796 ml whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 small beat, half grated
  • 3 medium peeled potatoes, 2 cut in half, 1 chopped
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup of green onions, diced
  • 6-8 cups of thinly sliced cabbage (if you want a heartier soup put 8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp of fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • pepper
  1. RED POT: In a medium pot melt 1/2 cup of butter into the pot and fry the onions until you have let them sweat for a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, grated carrot, grated beat and half the diced green pepper. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer until you get a thick stew. Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher and crush the tomatoes as the stew simmers
  2. WHITE POT: In a frying pan place 2 tbsp of butter with half the cabbage and saute until tender, do not let brown.
  3. MAIN POT: Into a large pot boil 3 quartz of water. To the water add the salt, 2 potatoes cut in half, chopped carrot and celery, half the beat. Boil the ingredients until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Once the potatoes are tender remove them and mash with 2 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of cream, 1/4 cup green onions and 1 tbsp of dill, set aside.
  5. MAIN POT: To the large pot, add the remaining cream, chopped potatoes and the other half of the uncooked cabbage. Bring this to a boil and then add in the tomato stew from the RED POT, the cabbage from the WHITE POT and the mashed potatoes. Bring this to a boil, then add the rest of the green peppers, green onion and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, then discard the beet before serving. This soup is always better the next day.
**Normally you add a dollop of sour cream to borscht when you serve it, but I find it very creamy and don't feel the need to add more cream.

**If you find the soup too hearty add a few more cups of water while it simmers.


  1. Oh my goodness, I love Doukhobor borscht! I have the strangest memory of when I was little and we were passing through Grand Forks and I was sitting at a picnic table eating a bowlful while my parents were waiting. That's all I remember so that soup must have been amazing, haha. It really is so delicious, thanks for sharing :)

  2. I know it seems long and complicated to make, but I hope you get a chance to, it will bring back all sorts of memories when you eat it! :)

  3. Such gorgeous photography Erica! This soup looks amazingly good.

  4. This recipe was dead on. My grandparents live in Grand Forks and I grew up eating doukhobor borscht. The only thing in this recipe that I don't remember is the green pepper? But I tried it and it fits in fine, so what the hell! The taste of this recipe takes me back to my childhood and I am so thankful to have found it. I live in the Florida panhandle now, and lets just say there aren't a lot of diverse food options. Thank you so much for posting this wonderful recipe!! I have gone through a couple borscht recipes so far that I thought might be similar, and they were tasty, but nothing like this one. So happy that I don't have to look any further :) I made a stockpot-sized batch and I doubt it will last the week. Thanks again!!!

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed it Breanna! This really is one of my favourite soups and not that many people know it! So glad you found the recipe! :)

  5. Thank you so much for sharing:)

  6. I had this soup on a BC road trip years ago. I’ve made it once since and am reviewing recipes to give it another try this fall since I have beets from my CSA box. I think the way you have explained the method both in words and pictures is the clearest I’ve seen! Thank you.

  7. Thank you for sharing, this whole recipe & photos are exactly how it's made (by hand to give it your love). I'm glad you described it this way with photos to help people, because it is the process that make this borscht so good! Don't get overwhelmed or discouraged by the amount of ingredients or steps, it's well worth it believe me. Also the traditional way my grandmother & mother & now me & my son make this delicious meal. P.S. don't skimp on using half & half instead of 33% cream because # 1 it could separate & # 2 just doesn't do it justice. It would be better to leave the cream out altogether instead, or even use coconut cream (not coconut milk). Thank you again!


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