So many variations on this soup. I will start by making a basic version. There is also a cold summer variation in Lithuania called saltibarsciai. Saltibarsciai is buttermilk mixed with beetroot, cucumber, fresh dill, green onion, hard boiled egg and sour cream.
Vegetarians can substitute the beef shank for some carrot, celeriac and other vegetables suitable for stock.
The heart of the soup is a nice piece of beef shank (Dutch: schenkel):
Put beef shank, fresh dill and chopped onion in a pan with three liters of water and simmer for 1.5 hours:
Half an hour after starting the beef broth, melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan. Add 500 gram beetroot (in small cubes), 2 tomatoes (and/or tomato paste) and 1 tablespoon vinegar to the pan. Simmer for one hour.
Fry this for one hour on a low fire in butter (I used three beetroots):
The 'other' ingredients:
Sauté the carrot and garlic 15 minutes before the beef broth is finished:
When the beef broth is cooked remove meat (discard bone) and fat, add chopped potato, 1/4 or 1/2 cabbage (cut in strips) and sautéd carrots & garlic).
Return meat to pot. Cook stock, potato's, carrot and cabbage for 15 minutes
Add the cooked beetroot and boil for 10 minutes:
Season with salt and pepper and add sour cream just before serving. Garnish with chopped dill or parsley. Make sure the sour cream is room temperature.