A healthy Shanghai-style borscht recipe made with tomatoes, beef stew meat, and onion sauteed in a roux and slow cooked in beef bone broth. This beef borscht is the perfect comfort food on a chilly day.
A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.Moslih Eddin Saadi
Ever since the hidden cooking passion lit up my life a couple years ago, my observations of local culture have been leaning more towards food whenever I travel. In addition to the actual dining experience, bringing home one or two local recipes has gradually become a habit. Sometimes the recipes are directly given to me. Other times, I have to do a little reverse engineering to recreate them.
In the beginning, I thought this was a super fun thing to do. Later on, it turned into the thing to do while traveling—even on trips back to my hometown, Shanghai.
Every time we go back to Shanghai to visit, we eat a variety of different meals cooked by my mother every day for our entire stay. It’s simply amazing! Even though I grew up eating my mom’s homemade food, her cooking still blows my mind with every single dish she makes.
I wonder why I didn’t feel this way growing up. Perhaps it’s because I had no interest in cooking at that time; perhaps it’s because I took my mom’s cooking for granted. Maybe it’s because I didn’t understand what traditional cooking means to a family.
This Shanghai-Style Beef Borscht Soup is one of my mother’s signature dishes. She showed me how to cook it in a large soup pot on the stove. The only change I made to her original recipe is to cook the soup in a slow cooker. This way, it doesn’t require you to do too much babysitting.
What Is Borscht?
If you’re not familiar with borscht, it’s a sour-tasting Eastern European soup (said to have originated in Ukraine), traditionally made from a base of red beets and broth or stock, with shredded cabbage and carrots, potatoes, onion, and a touch of lemon juice, topped with a dollop of sour cream and garnished with fresh dill weed. Sometimes red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar is used for the sourness. Essentially, it’s a Russian-style beet soup.
In some regions that have adopted this recipe, tomatoes are used as the main ingredient instead of beets. For example, Chinese borscht, also known as Luo Song Tang, has a base of green cabbage and tomatoes. It’s also topped with fresh basil instead of dill, with a bay leaf added during cooking for extra flavor. My mom usually uses homemade beef broth as the soup base, which gives it an incredible savory taste.
Historically, borscht is said to be a religious tradition for German, Jewish, Polish, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic cultures, and eventually, it made its way to many American kitchens.
Borscht Soup Cooking and Serving Tips
- When slow-cooking borscht, in order to prevent the cabbage from getting mushy, add it 30 minutes before serving because it cooks faster than the other ingredients.
- With slow-cooked beef stew meat and onion sautéed in a roux, the borscht brings a wonderful smell to your house during cooking. Serve it with your favorite bread or just enjoy it alone.
- This recipe calls for beef bone broth instead of beef broth. This adds an instant boost of nutrition because unlike regular stock or broth, bone broth is rich in collagen, a protein known for supporting bone, joint, skin, and gut health.
- If you’re vegetarian, feel free to substitute fresh beet for the beef and vegetable stock or vegetable broth for the beef bone broth.
If you get a chance to make this Shanghai-style borscht recipe, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy cooking, as always!Print
Slow Cooker Shanghai-Style Beef Borscht Recipe
A hearty Shanghai-style borscht recipe made with beef stew meat and onion sautéed in a roux and slow cooked in beef bone broth.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
- Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Soup
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Asian Fusion
2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 large russet potato, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef bone broth
- 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
- chopped fresh basil for garnish
- Make a roux by melting butter with olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Once the butter is completely melted, decrease the heat to low, add flour; stir constantly until the mixture is blended and smooth.
- Add onion into the roux; increase the heat to medium-high heat. Stir until the onion is well-coated and fragrant; transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
- Place all other ingredients except the cabbage in the slow cooker. Stir well, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Add cabbage, switch slow cooker to high setting. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
- Taste and add more salt or sugar if desired. Dish, garnish with basil and serve with your favorite bread.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 513
- Sugar: 17.4g
- Sodium: 1053mg
- Fat: 21.2g
- Saturated Fat: 7.1g
- Carbohydrates: 39.3g
- Fiber: 6.8g
- Protein: 42.7g
- Cholesterol: 117mg
Keywords: borscht recipe