Polish Christmas Beetroot Broth with Mushroom Dumplings {Barszcz Wigilijny z Uszkami}

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Christmas Beetroot Broth with Mushroom Dumplings

Christmas beetroot broth is a savory, lightly sour soup that was made once a year in my home, reserved strictly for Christmas Eve dinner, along with the other 11 dishes served (stay tuned for all 12 dishes). A small portion of barszcz Wigilijny [bar-sht vee-gee-leey-nih] is served with 4-5 wild mushroom-filled dumplings as the opening dish, warming up everyone’s appetite and brining the traditional tastes of Christmas into the air. It’s tangy, earthy and sweet taste is complemented by a mossy and deep flavor of wild mushrooms that cannot be delivered by any other dish that I’ve ever tasted. It is original and absolutely irresistible.

This is a vegetarian version of barszcz, as many Poles observe Advent up until Christmas Day. Therefore, all Christmas Eve dishes are vegetarian or made with fish. If you’re not one to observe this traditional Catholic rule, here is another (and easier) version of beet soup that can be served at Christmas: [recipe here].

Although this vegetarian version takes a little bit of prep, it is all worth the time. What I mean is that the beets sit on the counter and sour (or ferment), so it doesn’t really require extra work, just time.

Polish Christmas Beetroot Broth with Mushroom-filled Dumplings {Barszcz Wigilijny z Uszkami}

  • Yields: 6-7 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 days
  • Cook Time: 30 min


  • To make the starter:
  • About 1 lbs / 0.5 kg of fresh beets
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbs of salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A piece of rye, pumpernickel or sourdough bread (if you have)
  • 1 quart / 4 cups of boiled and cooled water
  • Additionally:
  • A pickling crock or glass jar
  • To make the broth:
  • 2 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g of dried wild mushrooms *
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1/2 of celery root
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/4 of an onion burnt straight on a gas burner
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 6 each peppercorns and allspice (whole)
  • 1/2 c + 1/2 c of vinegar (4%)
  • 2-3 medium beets
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbs of butter
  • Sprinkle of dried marjoram
  • 3 crushed cloves of garlic


  1. Wash, peel and slice your beets into thin slices. Place in a clean glass or ceramic pickling container. Add sugar, salt, garlic, bread and add water. Set on the counter for 5 days to sour.

  2. One night before you're ready to cook broth, place dried mushrooms in a pot and add 2.5 cups of water to soak (made sure it's large enough to fit about 8 cups of liquid). Next day to soaking mushrooms add cleaned and peeled celery root, carrots, parsnip, celery stalk, onion, peppercorns, allspice and salt and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid and return it to the pot. Reserve the vegetables.

  3. Strain beets that have been souring, add 1/2 c of vinegar to them to prevent from losing rich red color.

  4. Clean and peel fresh beets, slice thinly and add to mushroom/vegetable broth. Also add the beets from souring. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove beets. Add sour beet water to the mushroom/vegetable broth and heat up throughout, but DO NOT BOIL.

  5. To finish off add butter, marjoram and crushed garlic. Taste. If its too sour/vinegary, add a bit more sugar. Also add a bit more salt, if needed.


Beet soup can be difficult as it loses color fast. Vinegar can help prevent it, but sometimes you may find it turning brown. If this happens, don't fret. Even if it looses color this does not effect the taste.

Reserve wild mushrooms and vegetables from broth to make mushroom-filled dumplings (recipe here).

Serve as an opening dish at your Christmas dinner.

Happy cooking and smacznego!


* I like this mixture of wild mushrooms as it reminds me very much of mushrooms picked in Poland.










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  1. What an interesting recipe, I’ve never heard of “souring” beets. I wonder about the origins of the recipe- if someone forgot about the beets on the table and then decided to use them anyway, and a new tradition was started. Either way, it looks delicious and I look forward to more of your Christmas recipes.

  2. Dear Anna,

    Thank you so very much for this recipe and all others under the Christmas category of your blog. You were literally my guide through the prep and cooking of my first Wigilia. It was such an experience for me. I chose 6 recipes and it’s this beetroot and mushroom dumpling dish that made me the most proud. My new partner, who is Polish born, was also impressed! I don’t think he thought our first Wigilia together would be this good and tasty- ha! 😉 A brilliant, beautiful and DELICIOUS collection of recipes. Thank you again!

  3. I just made the sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi for a friend and just had to eat some. Delicious! Now I am making the beetroot broth. Can it me made in it’s entirety then frozen?

    1. I sent off a batch of this recipe to my son’s young co-worker of Polish descent. She was so elated and appreciative of the effort. She acknowledged that she did not have the time or patience to prepare foods she enjoyed growing up. She shared her great grandmother’s recipe for Pashka and mushroom soup which I will treasure. Thank you for bringing comfort to people during this pandemic and for triggering memories of family through the loving hands of the generations.

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