Green Borsch – Spinach Potato Soup (Зелёный Борщ)

IMG_5694 (550x367)Many people call this soup Green Borsch. We grew up calling it Shchavel, which is translated as sorrel. It is a green leafy vegetable, that looks and tastes very much like spinach, except it has a pleasant tart flavor. I definitely prefer to use sorrel in this soup, which my parents have in abundance in their garden. However, sorrel doesn’t seem to be as popular here in America as it is in the Soviet countries, which is a shame. I almost never see it in grocery stores, so I use spinach and sigh as I squeeze in some lemon juice. It still tastes great, so I can’t complain. Someday, when I have a garden of my own, I’ll be planting sorrel for sure!

This soup is simple and delicious, reminiscent of uncomplicated Russian peasant food. It has withstood the test of time, and is enjoyed to this very day. I usually make this soup with a chicken broth base, add some potatoes, carrots and onions, and it cooks up in no time. Add the spinach or sorrel last minute and garnish with some chopped hard boiled eggs and a dollop of sour cream.

Start by pouring the chicken broth into a pot.

If you don’t have any broth handy and want to start from scratch, place a few chicken wings or drumsticks into a pot of water, add a small quartered onion, a few cloves of garlic, a dry bay leaf and some black peppercorns, season with salt to taste and cook for about 40 minutes.  Strain the broth through a sieve lined with a paper towel or a cheesecloth. Save the meat from the wings or drumstick. (Of course, you can use any other meat from a chicken).Collage (650x255)

You can also make this soup vegetarian, by substituting vegetable broth.

Bring the broth to a boil. Dice the potatoes, chop the carrots and finely mince the onion. IMG_5673 (550x389)Add to the broth and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the spinach or sorrel. IMG_5678 (550x367)Add to the soup when the vegetables are cooked through. Add the lemon juice. You will only need to cook the spinach for a minute or two. Add the cooked chicken to the soup at this point. Garnish the soup with chopped hard boiled eggs and a dollop of sour cream.

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Green Borsch - Spinach Potato Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cups (packed tightly) chopped spinach or sorrel
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice (only if you're using spinach)
  • 4-5 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • sour cream, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Start by pouring the broth into a pot.
  2. If you don't have any broth handy and want to start from scratch, place a few chicken wings or drumsticks into a pot of water, add a small quartered onion, a few cloves of garlic, a dry bay leaf and some black peppercorns, season with salt to taste and cook for about 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve lined with a paper towel or a cheesecloth. Save the meat from the wings or drumstick. (Of course, you can use any other meat from a chicken).You can also make this soup vegetarian, by substituting vegetable broth.
  3. Bring the broth to a boil. Dice the potatoes, chop the carrots and finely mince the onion.
  4. Add to the broth and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, chop the spinach or sorrel.
  6. Add to the soup when the vegetables are cooked through. Squeeze in the lemon juice. You will only need to cook the spinach for a minute or two.
  7. Add the cooked chicken to the soup at this point.
  8. Garnish the soup with chopped hard boiled eggs and a dollop of sour cream.

 
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Comments

  1. Olya D says

    You can find sorrel in jars in the Polish/Russian sections of the stores with international foods… It’s not as good as fresh sorrel, but still gives that significant sorrel taste that’s a little different than spinach with lemon. I like mine really sour, with tons of sorrel. So lemon & spinach doesn’t really achieve that, unless I do a lot of lemons.

  2. Olga M. says

    Olya, this is growing season for shavel. Come visit North Port and let me know ahead of time (migashkin@yahoo.com) and I will “hook” you up. My mom grows it. I get a bag full from her, cut it all and freeze in portions what I don’t use. Thank you for the recipe!

  3. Tina says

    I love shchavel and looked all of over the place here where I live and no sign of it, no where! :( we use spinach too but you are right that it needs lots of lemon to taste something like sorrel. I’m going to try your new addition of using chicken broth instead of just plain water with seasonings, it sounds delicious :)

  4. Helen says

    Thank you, Olga, for great idea to substitute for sorrel. It works for me, i like fresh greens in my borshch (i also don’t have sorrel) :) You are creative with food! Thank for sharing. I just made it and loved it!!!

  5. Tatyana says

    This was wonderful Olga! I made it tonight and my husband loved it. He said it tastes just like the kind of “green borsch” his mom used to make! I am thrilled about your site! I have my eye on a few recipes already:)

  6. says

    Dear Olechka, do u think this soup will work with sorrel/ shavel’/? I have tons in my garden…need to utilize it somehow…
    Let me know….
    By the way your website is FANTASTIC ! If u r ever in California/Fremont/, stop by, we’ll whip us something great together…:-)
    God bless… Jenya crytoGod@msn.com

    • says

      Jenka,
      Thank you so much for your warm comment.
      Definitely use sorrel! It tastes so much better than spinach, in my opinion, for this soup. The only reason I don’t use it is because I don’t have any available.

  7. Nata says

    Question – can I leave the hardboiled eggs in the borsch if I’m planning to have leftovers or do I add those prior to eating each time? Just wandering if they will keep their shape and look “pretty” the next day. By the way my mom slowly pours raw scrambled eggs at the end of the cooking process while constantly mixing the borsch (kind of like Chinese egg drop soup style) but I wanted to try it your way this time :)

  8. Oksana says

    I’ll be making the green borscht today. We now have an abundance of sorrel in our garden. I like to chop up the sorrel when we have too much and freeze. Then in the winter time I can make this borscht anytime. Next time you go to your mom’s house, cut up and freeze a bunch to take home with you.
    A quick question, have you ever made soup out of krapiva? That plant that stings? Sorry don’t know the name of it in english. My husband knows where it grows and has been asking me to make soup out of it.

    • says

      My Mom froze sorrel all the time and we would also make it in the winter time as well.
      I’ve never made soup from krapiva, so I can’t really help you there.

  9. olga says

    Hi Olga,
    Could I just store bought Chicken broth instead? And what meat did you place into the soup? I dont seem to catch that on the recipe, unless its the meat from the chicken wings??

    Thanks

    • says

      Yes, Olga, you can use store bought Chicken Broth. I don’t like the taste of it personally and always have homemade chicken broth stored in my freezer for quick and easy soups. Of course you can use store bought, though!
      I used the meat from the chicken wings in the soup itself.

    • says

      Yes, you can use chicken breast. You can add it to the soup in the very beginning of cooking and just cook it until it cooks through. You can also use cooked chicken and add it at the very end to the soup. For example, if you make roast chicken one night and have some meat left on it, take it off the chicken and add it to your soups.

  10. Svetlana says

    Love this soup since my childhood! ;) Now my oldest daughter is a fun of this soup. :) I grow the sorrel in my garden and make some for winter time too. It is really good!

    • says

      That’s so awesome that you grow sorrel, Svetlana. I have really fond memories of gardening with my Mom and hope to have a garden of my own someday as well. My Mom still grows sorrel in her garden and we really enjoy it when we come for a visit.

  11. Alina says

    I’m gonna try making this with leftover spinach since I don’t have sorrel and I’m planting sorrel this year in a small garden my mother in law plants lots of sorrel so I could go get from her also :)

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