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  • Writer's pictureFay Walsh

Winter Borscht

A Simple Beet Soup Recipe from Veselka in the East Village

I wish my Bubbe were around to see me making borscht in my new house with the snow falling all around us.

My first time even seeing borscht was with my Russian friend at Marie Vanna in NYC. Borscht is usually served with rustic bread and butter for dipping, topped with sour cream and freshly chopped dill. In this version (by way of the Ukranian/East Village restaurant, Veselka), I created homemade mushroom and onion-filled kreplach.

How to Make the Kreplach

Check out my previous post on shaping and preparing the kreplach dough.

For this recipe, we use a mushroom and onion filling that is processed in a food processor.


  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms

  • 3 tbsp canola oil

  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 4 cups chopped button mushroom

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl with 1/4 boiling water. Let them seep for ten minutes, strain, and reserve the liquid for later.

  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until translucent but not brown. Add the button mushrooms and cook until all the liquids are released (about ten minutes or so – taste a mushroom to see if it's cooked to your liking). Season with salt and freshly cracked ground pepper. Transfer the mixture to a colander and drain the excess liquid from the mushroom mixture. Combine the porcini mushrooms and button mushroom mixture in a food processor, spooning in the saved liquid from the porcini mushrooms into the mix (careful to avoid any unwanted sediment here). Process the mushrooms with a few pulses, so that the consistency is similar to the image below.

  3. Spoon the mixture in small dollops onto your pre-cut dough circles (you can also buy wonton wrappers) and cook in salted boiling water until they float (2-4 minutes depending on how thick your dough is).


Winter Borscht

by Tom Birchard and Natalie Danford

2 lbs beets, trimmed and scrubbed, peels intact

3/4 cup white vinegar

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 small onion, diced

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 bay leaves

7 whole allspice berries

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sea Salt

Mushroom and onion kreplach (see above and follow along here for the dough recipe & shaping)

Sour cream and chopped dill for garnish


  1. Grate all the beets by hand, or use your handy food processor, mincing as finely as possible for optimal color (I used my little julienne slicer with the grating appliance – this took forever and turned my entire kitchen pink!). In a large pot, combine beets and vinegar and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave the pot uncovered, allowing the vinegar and heat do its magic for about 45 minutes. Strain and set aside (you can reserve the beet pulp for salad, if you like).

  2. While the beets are cooking, fill another large pot with the stock, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves, and allspice. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and discard the veggies.

  3. Combine strained stock and beet juice. Simmer for 5 minutes adding the garlic, sugar, and black pepper. Taste for seasoning (I added a bit more salt to mine) and serve with kreplach topped with sour cream and dill.

Recipe adapted by Julia Moskin for The New York Times.

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1 Comment

Sheila Grauer Fay
Sheila Grauer Fay
Dec 18, 2020

can't wait to try this!!!!

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