Babas Quick, Bright Pink Borscht
3 medium red beets, boiled until soft and grated
12 cups/ water
16 ounces of canned chopped tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 green cabbage, chopped
1/4 cup of dried dill
3 waxy potatoes (yukon gold is good, make them large!)
2 cans of kidney beans, incl. can liquid
2 tablespoons of powdered mixed vegetables with salt (I use Vegeta)
Put the 12 cups of water on the boil at high heat, and as it heats up, slice the potatoes to about .5 cm thickness and then cut in half, so they are half ovals. (you can actually cut them howe'ver you like, this just works best in the recipe so far as I've tried). Put them in the water, and as soon as you see a rolling boil decrease the heat to medium low and add 1 tablespoon of salt, a few grates of pepper, the vegetable seasoning, and the dill.
In a separate saucepan, saute the onions in your oil of choice (I like sunflower oil) until golden brown. Add in the tomatoes and continue to cook until they have disintegrated somewhat. Then, add this mixture to the boiling water/potatoes, along with the kidney beans in liquid. Put the lid on and increase the heat to resume the boil. Lower it again to medium.
While all of this is happening, you can chop the cabbage up. Red cabbage tends to taste quite a bit more bitter so i wouldn't recommend using it. After about 15 minutes, add in the cabbage, and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage has wilted and is soft (but still has texture! the goal of this recipe is to not lose the precious texture and flavor of the vegetables to extensive and excessive cooking). As soon as the cabbage is softening up, after maybe 7 minutes or so, add in the grated beets and stir. Cook the remaining 3-5 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the borscht sit for 15 minutes. What you get is a fresh tasting, delicious, and vibrant red soup!
The problem with most borscht recipes is that over time, the beets lose their color and flavor, and the cabbage turns into a wet rag. These problems are solved by not cooking the soup much and adding in the beets at the end.
You can also add your own variations to the borscht, such as sautéing carrots and celery with the onions. I do this sometimes, but when I want pure beet flavor, I just use the above recipe. Bon Appetit!