Karelian Borscht

December 30, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

The ingredient list looks long but the steps to making a really good, heartwarming soup are short. It comes together in no time. I have never met a soup yet that didn't go well with the proverbial crusty bread and this soup doesn't buck that pairing. This recipe is adapted from The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice A. Ojakangas.


Serves: 6 to 8


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups beets, peeled and grated
  • 4 cups chopped red or green cabbage
  • 2/3 cup carrots, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup fennel bulb, small dice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups broth, beef or vegetable
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound sausage, your choice, Italian and Wiesswurst are nice choices
  • Lemon slices and sour cream for garnish
In This Recipe


  1. Melt the butter in an enameled 4-quart Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the grated beets. Cook the beets until they are tender.
  2. Add the fennel, garlic, carrots and cabbage. Stir a few times then add the broth, sugar, bay leaf and vinegar. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. If the sausage is raw, cook it whole in a separate pan being sure to brown the casings nicely. Once they are cooked, remove them from the pan, slice them and add them to the soup towards the end of cooking, and likewise, if the sausages were precooked, slice and add them toward the end of cooking as well.
  4. Once the sausage is warm, the veggies tender, serve the soup hot with sour cream and lemon slices on the side.

More Great Recipes:
Soup|Beet|Carrot|Fennel|Sour Cream|Vegetable|Vinegar|Fall|Winter|Gluten-Free

Reviews (7) Questions (0)

7 Reviews

Nanda D. January 1, 2017
A very beautiful soup! The Polish mother of one of my friends would call for some Pimenta/Allspice :)
Shortrib November 20, 2016
This is delicious! It took much longer than 30 min for my carrots to become tender, but perhaps my heat was too low. This is the perfect antidote to a windy, sniffley Sunday afternoon in Amsterdam!
susan.j.thornton January 15, 2013
I made this tonight and it was amazing!
JanieMac January 2, 2013
Perfect! Just what I was dreaming of, something clean with beetroot and fennel. I couldn't agree more about the resolution dilemma, there is so little left worth giving up but all sorts of things worth trying. This will be the year of adding good things.
Author Comment
thirschfeld January 2, 2013
Glad to hear other people dream of beets and fennel! I hope you enjoy it.
anniemax December 31, 2012
I really think you mean "Karelian" borscht, no?
Author Comment
thirschfeld December 31, 2012
Sometimes I post these recipes early in the morning without wearing my glasses. I always know better then to do that and I always make a typo. Thanks for catching that.