Traditional Borscht with Pork & Beef

This is my Traditional Borscht with Pork & Beef Recipe that sustained my family through many decades. It requires a piece of beef and pork with bone-in. The bone broth gives this soup its wonderful, rich flavour. Borscht is usually served with sour cream and dark bread.” - Clara

Serves: 8 to 10

Prep time: 45 to 60 minutes*

Cooking time: 2.5 hours


14 cups (3.5 L) of water
1 piece of beef with bone
1 pork shank
1 tied bundle of thyme, dill and parsley
2 bay leaves
2 cups of navy beans, presoaked
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 large onions, chopped
1 to 2 leeks, white portion only, sliced

1-256 g/8 oz package of mushrooms, chopped
3 to 4 carrots, sliced
1 bunch (3 to 4) of beets, peeled and sliced
1-720 mL jar of puréed strained tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
1/2 head of organic medium cabbage, sliced
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of white vinegar
2 to 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed (cook separately)


1. To start the soup: Presoak navy beans overnight in 8 cups (2 L) of water. The following morning rinse and drain in colander and set aside.

2. Fill a large stock pot with 14 cups (3.5 L) of water and place the beef and pork bones in the pot. Add a tied bundle of thyme, dill and parsley. Then add bay leaves to the pot, keeping the pot open. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam reducing to low-medium temperature. After 30 minutes, add presoaked navy beans and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.

3. Add celery, onions, leek, mushrooms and carrots. Reduce temperature and cook until al dente. Next, add beets and tomato sauce. Cook beets for another 30 minutes until they become translucent. Taste the vegetables to make sure they are cooked to your liking. Add salt and sliced cabbage. Mix lightly. Cook until cabbage is soft and translucent. Continue to cook on low. Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of white vinegar and mix well. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes to blend flavours.

4. When borscht is fully cooked remove herb bundle and discard. Next, take the beef and pork out onto a cutting board and divide the meat into smaller pieces and return to soup. Discard any bones or fat.


1. Place potatoes at the bottom of the bowl and pour borscht over potatoes. A dollop of sour cream on top or a little milk is tasty. A dairy free option is adding soy or almond milk. Borscht is usually served with a dark Russian bread and butter or use a vegan spread, if dairy is an issue.

* Prep time does not include presoaking navy beans.

Using Format