Ukranian Red Borscht Soup

This authentic Ukranian recipe is loaded with fresh veggies, and so comforting on a chilly day. Make this vegetarian by eliminating the pork sausage.

PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOK TIME: 40 minutes

1 (16 ounce) package pork sausage
3 medium beets, peeled and shredded
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Crumble the sausage (if using) into a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Fill a large pot halfway with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Add the sausage. Cover and return to a boil. Add the beets, and cook until they have lost their color. Add the carrots and potatoes, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage, and the can of diced tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender. Stir in the tomato paste and water until well blended. Transfer to the pot. Add the raw garlic to the soup, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley.