Red Beet ‘Barszcz’ Soup with Mushroom Tortellini

Serves 6-8

Preparation 20 minutes

Cooking 1 hour and 20 minutes

Personal Note – This soup originates from Poland/Ukraine (16th Century). It is the Pride of old Polish cooking. It is one of many favourite Polish dishes and it is always served with tortellini or with tortellini type dumplings called uszka “little ears”. Most popular filling in the tortellini is mushroom or veal. This dish is the traditional Christmas dish eaten as a starter by all Polish people on Christmas Eve. Another reason why I love it, is that it is created from scratch just like ‘Mamma used to make’.

Tips – If you would rather use liquid stock swap the water for readymade liquid stock and taste prior to adding extra salt to ensure soup is not too salty.

  • 1 kg chicken wings
  • 1 kg beef soup bones
  • 2 litres water
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled
  • 1 leek (white part only)
  • 1 whole parsnip, peeled
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons Vegeta chicken stock
  • 900g canned whole baby beetroot
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 375g veal or mushroom tortellini
  • Salt to taste
  1. Place all the meat in a large pot and add 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Scoop out the meat residue foam and some of the oil that that has settled around the edges, with a tablespoon and remove meat from the pot.
  3. Next place all the vegetables into the pot. Add bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and Vegeta chicken stock. Cover and simmer for further 30 minutes.
  4. While the soup is simmering separate the beetroot from its juice by placing them in a bowl and leaving the beet juice in the cans.
  5. After 30 minutes, take out all the vegetables from the soup and scoop out the bay leaves.
  6. Place the separated beets into the soup, add sugar and stir the soup until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and simmer on gentle heat for another 10 minutes.
  7. Next, scoop out the beets and discard. Pour in the beet juice from both cans, add salt to taste, stir and cover, simmering for further 10 minutes on gentle heat.
  8. While soup is simmering, boil water in another medium sized saucepan and cook tortellini according to the packet instructions.
  9. Remove soup from stove, and remove the impurities with a clean chux, muslin or using a swivel. Soup should be clear with no vegetable, meat pieces or residue. This will also ensure you get the peppercorns out as well.
  10. Soup is now ready to serve with the tortellini.
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