Polish Beet Soup {Barszcz}

Beet soup (barszcz) is normally served as the opening act of the Christmas Eve dinner in my home. Traditionally, it’s a meatless dish,  with broth based on vegetables and dried wild mushrooms*.  

My version of barszcz has evolved a bit over the years, since getting real Polish wild mushrooms was challenging, and the strict rules on eating meat on Christmas Eve loosened. Many Poles still stick to the old tradition and continue with consuming meatless dishes only on Christmas Eve.

This year, I based the soup on meat stock (chicken and beef) and its taste is a bit sweet and earthy. 

Normally, small portions are served, to save room for other dishes waiting in line. It’s normally served with 3-4 mushroom stuffed tortellini, called “uszka”= little ears. 

Polish Beet Soup {Barszcz}

  • Yields: 10 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min


  • 7-8 beets
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbs. vinegar
  • 1 lb. of chicken on a bone (I used thighs)
  • 1 lb. of beef on bone or beef bones (ribs will do)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 leek
  • 1/4 of a large onion
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 8-10 pepper corns
  • 6-8 allspice seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs marjoram
  • Salt


  1. Wash, peel and cut the beets up into small pieces. Place raw beets in clean class or ceramic pot and cover with cold water just until covered, add lemon juice and vinegar. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.

  2. In a 5-6 quart pot, place the meat, carrots, parsnip, green parts of the leek, pepper corns, allspice seeds, 1 tsp. of salt.

  3. Burn the onion on a hot burner (or if using gas stove, place it right on the grate and let the flame char the onion) and add to stock. Shortcut: use a mixture of a good quality store bought beef and chicken broth (stock).

  4. Boil on low medium heat for about an hour. Take out all veggies and meat.

  5. Strain the beets and add beet juice to the stock. Rub marjoram between fingers and add to the soup along with crushed garlic cloves and pinch of pepper (taste, it may need a bit more salt). Bring to a point when it’s almost boiling and turn off.

  6. Serve with “uszka” (recipe coming soon) or in a mug for sipping.

Have you had this aromatic soup before? Leave a comment below!



* you can buy wild mushrooms on line. Here is a blend I like: [here].