Barszcz is the classic Polish beetroot soup.
Now this may just my imagination but beetroots in Poland just taste so much better and sweeter than the ones I have had in England, maybe it is the variety that is grown there or the soil. I think you have to use home-grown or organic beetroot to get as good a taste.
I like the clear, meat-free, Lenten barszcz made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve and have tried over the years many recipes using fresh beetroots, which I have boiled or roasted and also used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroot and adjusted the taste with lemon juice or a little sugar.
I have never been truly happy with the results which did not seem to have the sweetness and flavour or the soups I have had made for me.
Nowadays the way I make barszcz is my biggest cheat!
Many years ago I started to make my barszcz with beetroot concentrate as the base, with the addition of vegetable stock and some grated beetroot to make it look authentic and this proved very popular.
A few years ago I was recommended to try barszcz from a carton – and would you believe it – everyone said this was the best barszcz they had ever had!
I have used this ever since.
Served in Carnation by Royal Doulton 1982 – 1998
Uszka (mushroom filled Polish pasta) are often served in barszcz or a dollop of soured cream is added on serving.