Polish Beetroot Soup with Dumplings (Barszcz)

Rob Elliot recreates a traditional beetroot soup served with little mushroom dumplings
Polish Beetroot Soup with Dumplings (Barszcz)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the soup

  • 4 beetroot
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 leaves cabbage, roughly sliced
  • 4 large pieces dried mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • splash cider or perry vinegar

For the dumplings

  • 2 dried mushrooms, soaked in a little hot water
  • 100 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 fresh brown button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp dried breadcrumbs


1. For the soup: put the beetroot into a saucepan with the carrot, celery, onion, cabbage, dried mushroom pieces, bay leaves, parsley and water to cover. Bring it to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer gently for about an hour. Meanwhile, make the dumplings

2. For the dumplings: sift the flour into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and water. Mix thoroughly and then knead the resulting dough by hand until smooth; wrap it in cling film and set aside while you make the filling.

3. Strain the dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop very finely. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and shallot and fry for about 3 minutes, stirring, until the shallot begins to colour. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and their liquid, turn up the heat and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid evaporates. Stir in the dill and the breadcrumbs. Take the pan off the heat.

4. Now divide the dough into eight pieces and roll out each one very thinly on a lightly floured surface. Cut the sheet of dough into 5 cm squares. Taking one square at a time, place a teaspoonful of the filling in the centre and fold the square up and over it, making a triangle. Crimp the edges together. Then fold the two corners of the longest edge inwards so that they overlap, and crimp them together too. Set each one aside on a floured board while you make the rest.

5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Gently add the dumplings, stirring gently to prevent them sticking to each other. Bring the water back to the boil and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until they float to the surface.

6. Strain the soup into a bowl and discard the vegetables. Reheat the soup in the rinsed pan until hot, then add a little vinegar to taste: this gives it a sharp edge without masking the sweetness of the beetroot. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings from the hot water, then add them to the soup and serve.

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