This is a version of Borscht that my Mother's Polish family has made for many generations. I remember HATING this soup as a kid, but now that I am all grown up, I can't get enough of it! Funny how your tastes change! I have seen this soup done many different ways, but I prefer this recipe because of how hearty it is. I know this recipe looks like a lot of work, but its really very easy and the end result is SO worth it. Many of these steps (boiled pots and beets) can be prepared ahead of time.
1Combine all stocks in large soup pot. Add chicken, carrots, celery, and parsnips. Bring to a low simmer until chicken is cooked, skimming the top of the soup to remove "foam" and blood. Chicken is done when juice from chicken runs clear when punctured with a fork. Remove cooked chicken and parsnips, discard.
2While soup base is simmering, wash potatoes and boil with skins on in a separate pot. Potatoes are done when skins begin to crack and is somewhat tender to a fork. Strain and set aside to cool. Once cooled, peel skin (should pull away easily)and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add to soup base after chicken and parsnip have been removed.
3Remove beet stems from beets (set aside) and boil beets until fork tender in another separate pot. Strain and let cool. Once cooled, remove outer layer of beet and slice into "small frech fries". Add to soup.
4Saute chopped onion in small saute pan with 1 tbs. butter until tender, set aside.
5Rinse beet leaves and stems, and chop into 1 inch pieces. In large saute pan, add remaining butter and cook until leaves are wilted and stem is tender.
6Add onion, stem/leaf mixture, sliced garlic, fresh dill and parsley, salt and pepper to taste as well as the white vinegar to taste. Let soup slowly cool on stove to let flavors combine.
7When ready to serve, add a dollop of sour cream and accompany with some rustic, fresh rye bread.