There are many different kinds of bortch, some made with meat or poultry stock, some with fish stock, and some with vegetable stock. But the characteristic of this particular soup is beetroot, which is usually used when soured, in the same manner as sauerkraut. Whatever the ingredients used, however, bortch is always somewhat sour and sharp. There are various ways of serving it: the meat or poultry can be cut in small pieces and left in the soup, with the vegetables, or the stock can be strained, the meat or poultry being served separately, and the beetroot added, as in the following recipe. Sausages and gammon are often adjuncts to this soup.
These sour soups are popular in all countries where the Slav element is predominant. All manner of garnishes, in the way of vatroushki, forcemeat dumplings, etc., are served with bortch.
Wash and clean the beetroot and shred finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan and, when hot, add the beetroot and cook for about 20 minutes. Then stir in a little hot stock and, when this is absorbed, stir in more stock and repeat the process till the beetroot is quite tender. Pour the contents of the pan in another saucepan containing hot stock, chop the beetroot, and simmer gently for another ½ hour, and strain. Three or four tablespoons of sour cream are stirred in just before serving, or the cream can be served in a sauceboat.