Hot soup in summer? I know it seems crazy, but here on the coast it never really warms up. We had a pretty good stretch of cold foggy weather in the middle of August, so I decided to make one of my favorite soups - borscht. This Russian beet soup is so good, I really can't understand why more people don't eat it regularly. Everyone I've ever served it to loves it - even people who think they hate beets. My mom used to make it, and it was a favorite of us kids.

I started out with the above ingredients, all grown locally: carrots, potatoes (from our garden,) young onions (also from the garden,) and of course, red beets.

Caraway seeds are the secret to this recipe. I use them very liberally all through the process.

The first step is sauteing onions, carrots, beets, and potatoes in butter with caraway seeds and dried dill weed. I start with the onions, then add the harder veggies (carrots and beets,) and lastly the potatoes.

After the roots started to get tender, I added some more caraway seeds and local cabbage and Swiss chard (chard's not a traditional ingredient, but I had some in the fridge that I wanted to use up.) I cooked that for a few minutes, and finally added some chicken stock and a little apple cider vinegar. I think traditionally you would use beef stock, but chicken stock is what I had in the cupboard. It gives it a little lighter taste than beef. The vinegar gives the soup a great tang. I let all this cook down for about 20 minutes, until the veggies were tender.

Fresh dill is another vital ingredient. Here is it chopped and ready to go.

The finished soup gets topped with sour cream and fresh dill. It's so good! There's something so rich and satisfying about the beets combined with caraway, apple cider vinegar, and sour cream. For me, this is the ultimate comfort food! We had it with a nice loaf of sourdough bread, although I would have preferred dark rye. Unfortunately, none of the bakeries in town make a good dark rye bread.

The broth ends up being the most beautiful pink color. Mmmmm. I made lots, and we ate it for about 3 days. As the flavors melded together, the soup kept getting better and better!
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