Bernie's beetroot soup

borscht with sour cream and dill

Bernie's beetroot soup is just the traditional Polish borscht, made alternately with a chicken bones stock.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 1 December, 2018.

By Bernard Preston

Bernie's beetroot soup in pressure cooker

Notice incidentally that this is cooked on an induction stove; a wonderful innovation for any kitchen, they use half the electricity and cook at twice the speed.

I've had a love affair with beetroot dishes ever since I discovered, after years of misery, that its soluble fibre was the cure for my miserable chronic constipation. Whenever I get gummed up these days, I know where to turn. Follow it up with Helen's fifteen euro salad, and perhaps stewed prunes for breakfast and I guarantee the rabbit pellets will be a thing of the past.

This is not just a matter of inconvenience. Chronic constipation is the underlying cause of many serious bowel diseases including colorectal cancer, and is certainly a factor in acute lower back pain. Bearing down to pass the stool is not just agony but will also certainly aggravate a slipped disc; that's the chiropractor speaking.

Borscht is usually a vegetable dish but I often make it using our chicken bones bouillon. I abhor throwing away all the pulp when making a veggie stock; that's where more than half the goodies are.

Just compare OJ from a carton and freshly squeezed orange juice including the pulp; chalk and cheese.

The traditional vegetables in your borscht would be beetroot, onion, carrots, celery, tomato and a parsnip. Add some vinegar and sour cream and you have the tantalising sweet and sour taste.

Some recipes use red wine instead of vinegar; I've yet to dry it, but it sounds good.

If the beets are young enough, they have plenty of sweetness; no added sugar, or perhaps just a teaspoon, is necessary. Add your favourite spices and some fresh dill and you have Bernie's beetroot soup.

A pressure cooker means cutting the time by two thirds; perfect for the busy cook, and a nice little saving on your electricity bill, and your carbon footprint. If you potter around my Bernard Preston site, you'll soon realise both are big on my agenda; I worry that our pristine world won't be there for my grandchildren to enjoy as I have. I hope that bothers you too; stuff the kids is what most people actually practise, even if they say differently. Actions count for more than words.

Bernie's beetroot soup

Bernie's beetroot soup raw vegetables in pot

Bernie's beetroot soup for something very easy to make, but a little different. I'd lay even money on you never having enjoyed it before.

We always keep our chicken bones in the freezer, and then make up the stock; it's very strong so you must dilute it several times. Hopefully you have a pressure cooker; in half an hour you'll have the wonderful benefits of this anti inflammatory medicine to add to the flavour; that's proven information from the Harvard, incidentally.


  • Half a dozen medium sized beets
  • Small bunch of beet greens
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 chopped parsnip
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • Large pat of butter to saute the onion
  • 3 Tbsp of apple or grape cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cream
  • Salt, pepper, fine chopped dill and sour cream for a topping.
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spices.

My choice of spices is a stick of cinnamon and a few whole cloves which should be removed before liquidising; it's not a train smash if you can't locate them all; and maybe a little allspice and a touch of cumin. You choose your favourites.

Pressure cook the beetroot for fifteen minutes, cool them and then peel off their skins which you can discard. Add your choice of mixed spices, salt and pepper, and the vinegar and set aside whilst your prepared the other vegetables.

  1. Saute the chopped onion lightly in the butter.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables, minus the tomato and saute further for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chicken or vegetable bouillon and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and boil until all the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the chopped beet greens.
  6. Add the beetroot, spices and vinegar and simmer for another five minutes. Taste and decide if you want it sweeter, or more sour. You could add a teaspoon of honey; I didn't.
  7. After removing the cinnamon stick and cloves, optional, add the cream and then use a stick blender to turn it into a puree.
  8. Pour into the soup plates, and add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with the chopped dill.

It's just as good hot or cold.

Borscht chicken bones stock for simmering


Borscht vegetables simmering in stock

Whilst not wanting to get neurotic about your borscht, it's a good idea to count the colours you enjoy every day. There's strong research showing that the phytochemicals in your food prevent many diseases; how many does Bernie's beetroot soup have?

Borscht vegetables and tomatoes simmering

More, following a large group of people over twenty years, scientists found that those enjoying seven or eight coloured foods every day had a 35% lower all cause of death; that's massive.

Bernie's beetroot soup has beta carotenes in the beets, lutein in the greens, more carotenes in the carrots, anticancer falcarinol in parsnips, allicin in onion and lycopene in tomatoes. 

In short, borscht is a medicine chest of phytochemicals and fibre, not to mention the vitamins and minerals.

Borscht with cream being blended


Bernie's beetroot soup is a wonderful concoction of soluble and insoluble fibre that, enjoyed regularly, will deal with the most stubborn constipation; remember it's the prime cause of colorectal cancer; that is no small beer.

Beets together with Helen's fifteen euro salad, and stewed prunes for breakfast totally cured me of years of misery.

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