Borscht has almost as many recipes as there are grandmothers from the old country. Regional and cultural preferences have taken it around the world. If it passes as beet soup, it can be called Borscht. Variations include everything from adding heavy cream to serving with meat on the bone. We developed this recipe as a spin on traditional red beet soup. The first step, of course, has to be done months in advance: Plant some Touchstone Gold beet seeds in mid-April.

This recipe serves four.

4 medium sized Touchstone Gold beets, rinsed
63 mL (¼ cup) olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2.5 cm (1”) cube of ginger, grated
salt & pepper
500 mL (2 cups) beet juice
500 mL (2 cups) vegetable stock (we used beef stock)
pinch of turmeric powder
15 mL (1 Tbsp) vinegar
fresh herbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Wrap three of the four beets individually in foil, seasoning them with a drizzle of oil, and some salt & pepper. Seal the foil. Bake these for 45 minutes. Meanwhile quarter the final beet and cover the pieces with water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes. All your beets will be cooked at the same time. Unwrap the baked beets and set aside to cool. Lift out the boiled beets, reserving the beet juice. Add any yellow oil from the foil to the beet juice and set aside. When the beets are cool enough to touch, peel them all. Dice the baked beets.

In a heavy-bottomed pan or crockpot, sautee the onion in the remaining oil. When the onion turns translucent, add the carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger, stirring. Reduce heat to medium, and cover for around 5 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Now stir in the diced, baked beets and season with salt and pepper. Add the turmeric and stir well. Add all of the beet water and 250 mL (1 cup) of stock plus the vinegar. Bring the pot up to a boil, and simmer for ten minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend all the ingredients to a smooth soupy texture. Otherwise, blend the ingredients in a blender or food processor in small batches – it will be very hot, so use caution. Transfer back to the pot. If the soup is too thick at this point, add more stock. Taste and adjust seasoning – add salt, pepper, and vinegar as necessary.

Chop the boiled, skinned beets into small pieces and use these to garnish your serving bowls. Add chopped fresh herbs such as dill or rosemary and serve.