Borscht of Red Cabbage
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Vibrant ruby reds for a glowing, warming, hearty bowl of borscht. This one is with red cabbage infused with fennel and laced with cider. Make it thicker and it can be a wonderful side dish too.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Polish
Serves: 8 - 10
  • large knob of butter & 1 tsbp olive oilprint button transparent
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, preferably cooking, peeled, cored and sliced finely
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
  • half a red cabbage (approx: 450g), shredded/sliced finely
  • 300ml beer or cider
  • 750ml stock (veg or chicken)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dark, soft brown sugar
  • salt & black pepper for seasoning to taste
  • sour cream/thick natural yoghurt to serve
  1. Prep veg: shred cabbage, dice onion and peel, core and slice the apples finely.
  2. Melt the butter and olive oil gently in a deep-sided, thick-based pan (with lid). Add the onion and fennel seeds (crushed) and sweat down the onion til just soft and translucent. Then, add the apples, stir and leave for 5 mins with the lid on before adding the cabbage. Leave with the lid on for a further 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure it isn’t sticking.
  3. Turn up the heat, then add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir briefly and then add the beer (or cider) and stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer with lid on for around 20 minutes until the cabbage is very tender. Stir and add more stock or water if the soup is too thick. Leave with lid off for a further 10-15 minutes.
  4. When the cabbage is totally soft and the soup is a thick consistency (it will have shreds of cabbage still), ladle out around 400ml and blend. Add the liquidised mixture back in the pot. If you prefer, you can leave the soup whole. It’s nice with some smooth consistency and some shreds visible – half and half.
  5. Reheat to desired temperature and serve immediately. Dollop on some sour cream or thick natural yoghurt and garnish if you like with a few par-cooked cabbage shreds and fennel seeds. Serve with thick crusty bread.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at