Make Ahead

BBC Beet Borscht (Buttermilk, Balsamic & Carrot)

March 30, 2021
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

This is essentially classic cold beet borscht, with a few modern tweaks. I love its almost obscenely gorgeous color, and it's even fairly healthy. Its basic DNA comes from my grandmother, updated with a little balsamic vinegar, and buttermilk is mixed in instead of the traditional sour cream, for a relatively light creamy tang. Sauteed onions and carrots also add a layer of flavor. I'm sure my grandmother never heard of balsamic vinegar, but my father, her son, loved this version too. —amysarah

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Large Spanish onion (or a large yellow onion & 3-4 shallots,) chopped small
  • 4 Medium/large carrots, chopped small
  • 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Light brown sugar
  • 2 14-15 oz. cans of whole peeled beets
  • 3-4 Roasted fresh beets*
  • 3 cups Buttermilk
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Sour cream or creme fraiche and fresh chopped chives for topping
  1. Roast the beets: wash, trim and roast them whole in a foil packet at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until very tender. When cool enough to handle, slip off skins and slice.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion and carrots. Cook covered for around 15 minutes, stirring a few times, until fairly soft but not browned. Stir in the balsamic and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, or until very soft. Stir in the brown sugar, adjusting quantity depending on sweetness of beets/carrots. (It should have a slight sweetness, but not taste like dessert.) Let cool slightly.
  3. In a blender, puree the cooked vegetables with the canned beets and their liquid. It will probably take 3 or 4 batches, removing the puree to a big bowl as you go. (An immersion blender works fine for this, but I like the smoother puree you get in a blender.)
  4. Whisk it all together with around ¾-1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then the buttermilk. If it seems too thick, add a little more buttermilk. Add more salt if necessary (flavors mute a bit when cold, so don’t under season.)
  5. Chill in the fridge for a few hours; stir well and serve topped with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
  6. *Note: roasted beets add depth of flavor, but for a quicker version - or when fresh aren't available - omit them and use 3 cans instead. It will still be delicious.

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  • susan g
    susan g
  • amysarah

2 Reviews

susan G. April 17, 2016
I came here for the borscht, which looks delicious. My mother never made borscht, but my mother-in-law did, probably the same as her mother, and I haven't found a recipe to match it. And, looking at photo #2, I saw 'my' bowl, a wedding present in 1966! Don't you love it? Double motivation - make your borscht, serve in the mushroom bowl.
amysarah April 17, 2016
That's so funny! That bowl was my mother's - I do love it. It really reminds me of home when I was little, very 1960's. Hope you enjoy the borscht!