Dinner/ soups

Young beet soup (Polish botwinka soup)

29 May 2020

This is a delicious spring beet soup made with whole young beets, which means we’re using beets, their stems, and leaves. This soup is quick and easy, but very flavorful. It’s also a great way to use up all parts of a beet, especially if you grow your own beets or have found such a beautiful bunch of beets at the farmer’s market. I serve this soup with hard-boiled eggs and sometimes feta cheese. It’s one of my favorite spring recipes! When spring comes I always think about this recipe.

young beets soup with hard-boiled eggs in a white bowl

Ingredients:

The most important ingredient of this soup are young beets with their stems and leaves attached. The stems and leaves are called ‘botwinka’ in the Polish language hence the name of the soup (it’s called either botwinka or zupa botwinkowa (‘zupa’ means soup)).

If you can’t find the beets with stems and leaves in a supermarket, try searching for it at a farmer’s market. Botwinka is not really known in Austria where I live, but I often see it at farmer’s market as the sellers think that the beets with their leaves just look nicer. Last time they tried to remove them before selling the beets to me, and didn’t really understand my excitement about the leaves!

If you’re growing your own beets this soup is the best possible way to use them up!

If you’ve found the beet leaves and stems with teeny tiny beets attached, this is also ok, as the leaves and stems are the main focus of this soup, just buy 2 bunches.

If you look at the photos, this soup looks similar to the famous Polish beet soup (barszcz / borscht), but it’s not the same. As written previously, the main focus of this soup are young beets and their leaves. You can check out my recipe for Polish beet soup for Christmas Eve (barszcz wigilijny).

The rest of the ingredients are very simple. The main ingredients are beets, potatoes, broth, and cream. I seasoned this soup with garlic, dill, and lemon juice, which is very important – it balances the sweetness of the beets and cream. Hard-boiled eggs are often served with this soup (but not always). I like to add them as their flavor works brilliantly with the soup but they also make the soup very filling, so when it’s warm I often eat it for dinner as a main dish (I’m sure my grandma wouldn’t approve of 1-course dinner though!). Instead of lemon juice you can use apple cider vinegar.

How many eggs do you need: it depends on your preferences, I like a lot, so for a 1 bowl of soup, like shown on the photos I would add 2 eggs.

ingredients needed to prepare whole beet soup

Step-by-step instructions:

These are complete instructions with step by step photos showing how to make this soup. Scroll down for printable recipe card.

chopped beets, their stems and leaves, potatoes, dill and garlic on a chopping board

STEP 1: Start with preparing the ingredients: peel and cut 1.5 lbs (750g) potatoes into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes, cut 3 large cloves garlic into thin slices, chop 1 small handful dill finely. 1 big bunch of the beets: roughly cut the leaves, cut the stems into thin slices, peel the beetroots (use gloves!), and cut into thin slices (larger beets need to be cut into four parts and then into slices).

potatoes, broth and beets in a pot

STEP 2: Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large pot over high heat, when it’s hot add the potatoes. Cook over high heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not stir for the first minute), until the potatoes brown a little.

STEP 3: Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

STEP 4: Add the 5 cups of broth (1.3 l) and chopped beets (don’t add the stems and leaves just yet). Bring to a boil, scrape all the browned bits and pieces of potatoes from the bottom of the pot with a spatula, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.

chopped beets stems and leaves in a pot

STEP 5: Add the chopped stems, stir, bring to a boil, cook for another 5 minutes.

STEP 6: Add the beetroot leaves and cook the soup briefly, for about 1-2 minutes, just until the leaves are wilted.

tempered cream and dill are being added to a beet soup

STEP 7: Temper the cream: add 1/2 cup of cream (120ml) to a cup together with a few tablespoons of the soup, stir and add back to the pot.

STEP 8: Take the pot off the heat, add the chopped dill and season the soup with salt, pepper and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice (or more or less, to your taste).

Serve with hard-boiled eggs.

Enjoy!

Storage and freezing:

  • The soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, it can be warmed up, but it should not boil intensively (cream can curdle).
  • This soup can be frozen only before adding the cream.
white bowl with beet soup, hard-boiled eggs and dill, blue spoon in the bowl

Young beet soup (Polish botwinka soup)

This is a delicious beet soup made with the whole young beets, which means we’re using beets, their stems, and leaves. This soup is quick and easy, but very flavorful.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 282kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 1.5 lbs (750g) potatoes, waxy variety
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 5 cups (1.3 liters) vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 large bunch young beets with their stems and leaves attached or 2 small bunches
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 120 ml, 30-36%
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

to serve:

  • a handful of dill
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs or more

Instructions

  • Prepare all the ingredients: peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes, cut the garlic into thin slices, chop the dill finely. The beets: roughly cut the leaves, cut the stems into thin slices, peel the beetroots (use gloves!), and cut into thin slices (larger beets need to be cut into four parts and then into slices).
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat, when it's hot add the potatoes. Cook over high heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not stir for the first minute), until the potatoes brown a little.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the broth and chopped beets (don't add the stems and leaves just yet). Bring to a boil, scrape all the browned bits and pieces of potatoes from the bottom of the pot with a spatula, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped stems, stir, bring to a boil, cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the beetroot leaves and cook the soup briefly, for about 1-2 minutes, just until the leaves are wilted.
  • Temper the cream: add the cream to a cup together with a few tablespoons of the soup, stir and add back to the pot.
  • Take the pot off the heat, add the chopped dill and season the soup with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Serve with hard-boiled eggs.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • It’s not really Polish, but I like to add some feta cheese or other goat or sheep cheese if I have some on hand. Add it just before serving and crumble it into the soup.
  • Instead of lemon juice, you can add apple cider vinegar.
  • Instead of broth, you can add water. You can use vegetable or meat broth, like chicken broth.
  • The soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, it can be warmed up, but it should not boil intensively (cream can curdle).
  • This soup can be frozen only before adding the cream.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Soup
Cuisine polish
Keyword beet soup recipe, botwinka soup, Polish beet soup, whole beet soup, young beet soup, zupa botwinkowa

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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