Last fall, my mom and I visited Poland together for the first time. She grew up in Krakow, but hadn't been back in over 50 years.
I was struck by how clearly she remembered the city and its history. I loved hearing her speak Polish, and watching her ease into her surroundings. She shared stories about growing up there — four years after World War II, under Communism — and I marveled at how different our childhoods had been.
Growing up, I connected to my Polish heritage through my mom's and grandmother's cooking. I inhaled pierogis, kielbasa, and babka. But no amount of prodding could convince me to try borscht — until this trip.
If you are certain that you don't like beets, then please keep scrolling. But if you’re unsure, I forcefully encourage you to try this recipe. Homemade broth is (always) best, but store-bought works too. Try it hot in the winter, and chilled in the summer.
This recipe has been adapted for SCD from Leah Koenig's Modern Jewish Cooking.
Prep Time: 15m
Total Time: 1hr 10m
- Roughly chop cabbage, onion, and beets. Set 1 cup of the cabbage and half of the beets to the side.
- Sauté the onion and the remaining beet with oil, adding the mustard seed, cumin, and caraway. Stir for about 5 minutes, 'til onions begin to soften.
- Add the broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Let simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Fry the reserved beet and cabbage in butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the beet and cabbage are partially cooked and butter-crusty, add to the main pot and cook for another 15-20 minutes, just till the sautéed beet cooks through. Season to taste with salt throughout this last cooking bit.
- Remove bay leaf, and ladle into bowl to serve. Then, very important: Add lemon juice to taste.
- Top with yogurt, if you have it handy. Enjoy!
3 Tbsp oil or lard
1 Big onion
2 Medium-sized beets, peeled
2 Cups cabbage, chopped
6 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 Bay leaf
1 Tbsp Thyme
1 Tbsp Mustard seed
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Caraway
Lemon, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: SCD Yogurt