Yes, you read it right, "Vegetable Beet Soup" not "Borscht". I can't call it borscht because there is more of other vegetables in it than beets. But it's still a lovely beet-red color and has a lot of beet flavor. Also I used fresh cilantro rather than the traditional fresh dill because (a) that's what I had on hand and (b) I don't really like dill for some reason, except in dill pickles.
This turned out really tasty!
3 stalks of celery
1 small cabbage
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 qts. vegetable and/or beef broth (*)
salt and freshly ground pepper
(*) If you or one of your guests is vegetarian, just use vegetable broth
Cut the tops off the beets and the long straggly root part, and give them a rinse. Put them in 3 qts. of salted water and boil until tender. Bring the beets out of the pot and set them aside to cool, retaining the water.
Chop the onion, celery, carrots, and cabbage and boil them in the beet water for 20 minutes or so.
In the meantime, when the beets are cool enough, peel them and cut them into about 1" cubes.
After the other vegetables have boiled in the beet water for 20 minutes, drain the beet water. Now add the beets to the vegetables along with the 3 qts. of broth, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 2 hours or so. At this point you can add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Trim the cilantro leaves and add them to the soup for the last 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off and let the soup cool for 30-45 minutes. Next, puree the soup in a blender until smooth.
Place the blended soup back into the pot, adjust the seasoning, and heat for serving.
To serve, fill a bowl with the soup, add a large dollop of sour cream and garnish with cilantro if desired.