summer borscht

At least once during the summer I make my favorite vegetable soup, summer borscht. This family recipe comes from my Ukrainian grandmother and all of us were raised on it from the time we could hold a spoon. I recently made a double recipe resulting in a huge pot that I was able to serve to friends, eat for many nights plus give a little away. Immensely satisfying. Anyway, if you’ve never tried borscht, or only tried a heavy winter version, try this light summer vegetable soup. You’ll be surprised at how delicate and flavorful it is. Enjoy!

3 medium beets, peeled, quartered, cut into thin strips*
1 tablespoon salt
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup sliced yellow or green beans
6 cups cold water
¼ cup tomato juice
3 medium potatoes, peeled, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
2 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
⅛ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons sour cream

Stir together the beets and salt in a large pot. (The salt keeps the bright red color in the beets.) Stir in the onion, beans, water and tomato juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, carrot, peas, green onions, dill and pepper. Simmer another 10 minutes. Add parsley and garlic; simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add lemon juice to taste and stir in the sour cream until blended. (Do not let the soup come to a boil once the sour cream has been added or the cream could curdle.) Serve warm with an extra dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6

* To eliminate your fingers and hands turning red from peeling and cutting raw beets, use disposable gloves.