Red Beet Soup or Borscht is the most popular soup at our house. I start with cooking a chunk of beef and then add sautéed vegetables, potatoes and beans for a nice bowl of homey comfort food. It's the first thing kids ask for when we come from vacations.
Cook the beef and make the broth:
On a stovetop: To an 8-quart soup pot add 4 quarts water, 1.5 lbs beef chuck, 1 peeled carrot, 1 peeled onion, 4-5 black peppercorns, 1 tbsp salt and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the beef until fork-tender, about 3 hours. Continually skim the impurities with a slotted spoon that float to the top. Do not turn up the heat to a rapid boil or the impurities will make the broth cloudy. If the water evaporates below the level of the meat, just add a little more hot water to keep the meat submerged.
In an Instant Pot: Add the beef chuck, carrot, onion, peppercorns, the bay leaf, and salt together with 4 quarts of water and cook on "manual" for 90 minutes with the valve set to "seal". Then, allow naturally pressure release for 15 minutes.
While the beef is cooking, prep all the vegetbales.
Peel 6 potatoes, rinse them and dice. Cover with water and set aside.
Peel and grate 1 carrot. Peel and dice 1 onion. Open 2 cans of beens and drain them. Chop the tomatoes or open the can of the tomato sauce. Chop the parsley and dill.
Also, in a large skillet with 4 tbsp oil, fry 1 diced onions until slightly golden over medium-high heat stirring often. Add 1 shredded carrot and 1 diced bell pepper and fry for another 3-4 minutes or until slightly golden. Add 3 grated raw beets (Note 1), 4 oz of chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepperg, stir, cover with lid and lower the heat to low. Allow to cook on low heat, stirring often for about 15-20 minutes or until beets are soft.
Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot and shred it to small pieces. Discard the vegetables, aromatics and impurities from the broth and discard.
Add diced potatoes and cook on medium heat until fork tender, about 7-9 minutes.
Once the potatoes are cooked, add the shredded beef and beans. Bring to boil.
Add the sauteed vegetable mixture to the pot, bring to boil and turn off right away. Boiling too long past it coming to a boil will cook off the deep red color of the beets.
Taste and adjust the salt amount.
Add parsley, dillm, and ground black pepper.
You can sautee the beets with the vegetables while the meat is cooking like it describes in the instructions, OR you can boil the beets in a separate pot with the peel on for about 1.5 - 2 hours at the same time as the beef broth is cooking.
Alternatively you can steam the beets or bake them in the oven by wrapping them with a foil and baking for about 1.5 - 2 hours or until the beets are easily pierced with a fork.
If you boil, steem or bake the beets separately, just peel them as soon as they're cold enough to handle, then shred on a grater and add to sauteed onions and carrots.
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