Every good Ukrainian family has their tried and true Borscht recipe. For years after my Baba's passing I've tried to recreate the earthy sweetness of her recipe. This is it! Keep it vegetarian, or add a ham hock if you like. —Cheryl Arkison
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Trim ends from beets, toss with a little bit of vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in oven for 1 and 1/2 hours. Let cool completely.
Peel the beets. Julienne into 1/8 inch sticks, about 1-1.5 inches long. Do the same to the carrots. Set aside.
Finely dice the onion and celery ribs. Sauté with vegetable oil until soft. Add in garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Stir in beets, carrots, tomatoes and their juice, and 6 cups water. If using the ham bone add it now. Let simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, covered.
Turn off the heat, stir in the celery leaves and dill. Season well with salt and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but borscht benefits from sitting a day or two.
To serve, garnish with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche. Alternatively, drizzle with some heavy cream.