The allure of crimson in Botwinka soup – a traditional spring offering across most of Eastern Europe, is matched by the intense flavour of beets and a playful sweet and sour taste. It’s a classic Polish beet soup recipe you will love.
I cound hardly contain my excitement when I stumbled upon a young beetroot leaves only salad mix at Sydney Fish Market’s Wasterside Fruit Connection green grocer. I picked up a pack along with a bunch of young beetroot. Finally, my craving for botwinka could be satisfied.
Botwinka Polish Beet Soup Recipe
Perhaps because of its peasant origins, the Botwinka soup recipe lets nothing go to waste. You get to use the lot: the root, the stems and the greens.
Thickened with a dollop of cream, the soup can be served 2 ways and the following recipe allows for you to try both. Firstly, it can be served more like a hearty winter stew, showcasing all the gorgeous vegetables and greens. The other option is to serve just the broth – a version much preferred during warmer months. Both go well with a side of hard-boiled egg or young boiled potato sprinkled with dill.
I’m a big fan of the beetroot and goat’s cheese combo. So, I like to crumble some goat’s cheese or feta onto the soup. Lastly, to lift the botwinka a little further I added a good splash of apple cider vinegar. Yum!
Botwinka: whole young beetroot soup two ways
For the soup:
- 6 small beetroot with stems attached
- 150 g baby beetroot leaves, additional, optional
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 parsnip
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 4 medium sized boiled potatoes cruched and sprinkled with dill
- 4 tbsp crumbled goat’s cheese feta optional
- To make the soup: wash beetroots, stems and leaves thoroughly. Cut off the stems and chop, including leaves, into 1 cm pieces. Peel beetroots, carrots and parsnip (use plastic gloves to protect skin from staining) and dice all into 1cm cubes. Cut celery sticks lengthways and chop into small cubes.
- Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add peeled beetroot (but not the stems or leaves yet), carrots, parsnip and celery and allow to heat through. Add stock and water, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. At this stage, add beetroot stems, leaves and baby beetroot leaves. Season with lemon juice or vinegar mic, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes then turn off the heat.
- In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the broth with the sour cream until smooth and add to the pot, stir through to combine.
- To serve the soup “stew-style”: ladle vegetables into a bowl and add enough broth to come up halfway up the veg. Serve with a side of boiled eggs, potatoes with dill and crumbed goat’s feta.
- To serve the soup “broth-style”: strain soup through a sieve into a bowl. Serve with a side of boiled eggs, potatoes with dill and crumbed goat’s feta.