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Looking to duplicate a beet-less vegetable borscht soup that my mother-in-law used to make...

My mother-in-law used to make the most delicious vegetable soup that everyone in the family referred to as borscht. She grew up in Romania but was of German descent. Unfortunately, I never thought to watch her make it from beginning to end and now she's gone. It was basically a "clear" beef or lamb broth with onions, carrots, potatoes, parsnips (I think), lots of dill, and maybe some other herbs like parsley. It did not contain tomatoes or celery. Some of the family would add a dollop of sour cream to their bowl before eating although I preferred it without. I haven't had any luck searching online so I thought I'd ask my fellow Chowhounders before I attempt to recreate it on my own. Has anyone else ever had something like this? Thanks!

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  1. There are a few variations in Polish cuisine of Borscht . The most common one is with Kielbasa but there are others that are vegetarian and have a wide array of variance in what goes into them.
    It will give you a place to start any way.

    1. I meant to add "with out beets" in that first sentence.

      1. Inasmuch as beet juice is the foundation for "borscht", it's odd to usethe term "Beet-less" borcht; kinda like saying " barley-less Krupnik" It appears to me you want to make a vegetable soup without beets. This one may be worth looking at:

        3 Replies
        1. re: todao

          todao, I know it does sound odd to refer to it as a borscht seeing as how it doesn't contain any beets but that's what my husband's family called it and I was hoping that someone out there with the same cultural background may be familiar with this vegetable type soup that was referred to as a borscht. I'll check out chefj's suggestion to look for a Polish vegetable soup with the ingredients that I'm looking for. Thanks both of you for the suggestions!

          1. re: schmoopy

            There's a white borscht referred to as such in Polish food that has no beets anywhere near it. Dang tasty too. (This isn't what you're after, it has no discernable vegs in it.)

          2. re: todao

            The term Borscht is not limited to beet soup.

          3. Did it have sorrel? There is a Russian/Eastern European dish that sounds a lot like you describe. It's kind of a green borscht that has lots of sorrel. I've had it served both hot and cold. think it was called something like Shlav or Shashlav.

            1 Reply
            1. re: toveggiegirl

              The only schav I've ever had was made of sorrel and eggs and lemon. No carrots or parsnips or anything like that. But that recipe you posted below looks great.

            2. Ok, I found a recipe that looks similar to the one I recall. Does this sound right?

              2 Replies
              1. re: toveggiegirl

                Oh my gosh, toveggiegirl! This looks like it could be it! The picture looks exactly like what my mother-in-law used to make. She even used Maggi seasoning. I never thought about the garlic chives but I wouldn't be surprised if they were in there... she grew so much stuff in her garden and I know she grew that. And I'll check out the sorrel too. This gives me such a great place to start. Thank you SO much! I'm going to try to make it this weekend and I'll report back when I do. You guys are great! Thank you for your responses. My husband will be thrilled! ...I already am. :-)

                1. re: schmoopy

                  You're welcome! It might take a few tries to tweak it to your MIL's recipe. but hopefully it will give you a good place to start. Happy soup experimenting!

              2. To those of you who so kindly responded to my plea for help in finding a recipe for this soup, I just wanted to give you an update.

                Last night I made the recipe that toveggiegirl linked to in her post. It came out SO good and very similar to what my MIL used to make. I followed her instructions for making the broth (I used lamb since that's what my MIL used). I did that last night. Then this afternoon when I came home from work I put the rest of it together with the vegetables and let it simmer away. I didn't have any sorrel or parsley root but used parsley and parsnip instead and used about 4 times as much fresh dill as the recipe called for. (I recently put up another post inquiring about sorrel and parsley root and know now that I can find both of these at a good farmers' market, so next time I'll try it with both of those ingredients.). In the meantime, it came SO close to what I was looking for. My husband and I just sat there grinning at each other, spoonful by spoonful, as we ate it. :o) Thanks again for your help!!

                4 Replies
                1. re: schmoopy

                  I am soooo glad to hear it! It's wonderful to be able to recreate a lost family recipe. What a gift to your husband!
                  Thank you for haring your experience with us.

                  1. re: schmoopy

                    The sorrel will clinch it , I bet. I am interested that you used lamb stock.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      Yeah, I would never have thought to use lamb stock either except that we know that's what she used. The soup then has small chunks of the lamb meat in it as well. It's all very subtle, no overpowering taste of lamb. It's one of the things that made this particular soup so different than other vegetable soups. That, and all that fresh dill!

                    2. re: schmoopy

                      Also, sorrel has kind of a sour taste so if you cannot find sorrel but want to make this soup, I would try spinach and add a little bit of lemon juice.