Borscht is reputed to be one of the world’s great soups. However, to be honest, I initially wasn’t so sure. I’ve only had borscht a few times and it hasn’t always been a memorable experience. For a long time, I thought of it as an Eastern European peasant soup, probably good if you didn’t have much more to eat than beets but pretty dull otherwise.
For me, what changed things was having a borscht with dill. I’d had chilled beet soup with dill before but dill in hot borscht was a new thing for me. I understand it’s not really traditional but dill takes borscht from plain to interesting without overshooting the mark and getting into the realm of weird. Also, using plenty of beef turns this from a side to a filling one-pot meal.
I consulted a number of recipes and took the best from them to create my own version, erring on the generally-healthier side. Although I’m not strictly paleo, I am trying to reduce the grains and white starches in my life, so I replaced the usual potato with daikon radish – a delicious and healthy masterstroke, I thought. Also to lower the FODMAP content I replaced regular cabbage with savoy cabbage and used a homemade broth with no onion or garlic…
However, it’s important to note that this is not a low-FODMAP dish. Beetroot is quite high in FODMAPs and the low-FODMAP diet recommends having no more than 2-4 slices (sources differ and I’m not sure exactly how much of this soup that would work out to). However, some high-FODMAP foods bother me more than others and I don’t find beets bother me very much but if beetroot does bother you, restrict yourself to a very small serving.
- 500 g braising beef
- A little olive oil
- 1/2 small savoy cabbage
- 1 large carrot
- 1/2 large daikon
- 2 stalks celery
- 3 largish beets/beetroot (approx. 500 g)
- Approx. 2 L beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Juice of half a lemon
- Good handful of dill, chopped
- Drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil
- Brown beef chunks well in a little olive oil, in a large pot. Do not wash pot.
- Coarsely shed savoy cabbage, carrot, daikon, and beets. Mince celery. Add all vegetables, bay leaves, maple syrup, salt and pepper to pot with enough beef broth to cover all ingredients and enable mixing. Try to scrape up the browned bits in the bottom.
- Simmer for at least an hour, until beef is tender and all vegetables well cooked.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice, dill, and a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil. Enjoy!