Our first adventure into the wonderful world of International Pressure Cooking will be the lovely country of Russia.  And one of the most popular and well known dishes from Russia is the delicious hot soup called Borscht.  For a more detail and in depth look at the origins of Borscht, click here.

My boyfriend is Russian.  Born in Moscow and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 3 years old.  He was raised by his grandparents in Los Angeles in a small Russian community.  So he was raised eating all kinds of wonderful Russian home-cooked meals made by his Busichka (Grandmother).  I won’t even bother trying to compete with her cooking because I will never win.  I just take the recipes she provides and tweak them so it becomes my own version.  And if my boyfriend doesn’t like it, he can go hungry!  HAHA Just kidding…..or am I really?

Traditional Borscht is always made with red beets.  That is always the main ingredient that never changes.  The red beets are what give this soup its dark reddish fuchsia jewel tone color.  And when you serve it with a dollop of sour cream and mix it in, the soup becomes bright pink!  It’s quite fun to watch it change colors.

Well, guess what.  I totally succeeded in making my borscht taste wonderful and even my boyfriend liked it and enjoyed it.  But I failed at keeping that red color.  I’m not afraid of admitting my mistakes.  My borscht was a dark orangey-red-brown color and the beets completely lost their red tone and was pretty much light brown.  I did some research on Google and found out that you shouldn’t boil the beets, it causes them to lose their color.  DOH!  The soup usually need to be cooked on the stove and simmered on medium or low heat for close to 2 hours.  But since I used my trusty Peggy, I only cooked it for 30-minutes.

So now what?  Well, never fear, I think I have come up with a solution to fix the color problem, so you can have both the flavor and color still when making this recipe for your friends and family.  See the end of the post for the solution.  😛

(Again, I apologize for my photos.  It’s been raining non-stop all week.  No natural light in sight for days!  And I didn’t have all my ingredients until almost 4pm.  I know, I know, it’s becoming a bad habit.)

12 Small Beets, Diced
(I purchased mine from Trader Joes so they were already peeled and were the size of eggs.  You can also use 3 cans of Canned Beets, shredded or whole.)
2 Cups of Potatoes, Diced
1 Whole Head of Cabbage, Chopped
1-2 Onions, Cut into half rings
1 Package or 2 Cups of Stew Beef, Chopped
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Tbsp Dried Dill or Fresh Dill
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 Quart of Water
3 Tbsp Ketchup (Secret Ingredient)
Salt & Pepper

Prepare all your ingredients.  Chop the vegetables into bite sizes.  Even chop up the stew meat if the chunks are too big. (Make sure you prepare the beets if you have to on a glass plate or something.  Don’t use a wood chopping board.  It will stain like bloody murder!)

First I browned the meat in my pressure cooker.  Simply press the Start button.  Put the meat into the main cooking pot with a little bit of olive oil.  Add the minced garlic and dill and brown the meat.  Do not completely cook the meat though.  When you are done, press Cancel to turn off the pressure cooker.
Next, add the chopped potatoes right into the pot on top of the meat.  Follow it with the beets, onions and cabbage.  Then add the beef stock and water.  Make sure not to over fill the pot.  You must have at least 1-2 inches of space of clearance at the top.
Close and lock the lid to the pressure cooker.  Set the Pressure Valve to “Airtight”.  Program it for 30-minutes by pressing the Set Pressure Cook Time button until the green digits on the display shows 30.  Then press START!  Just a quick recap, if you’re cooking pretty much a full pot of food, the pressure cooker will take a little while to heat up and build up pressure.  Once it has built up pressure and sealed completely, the letter “P” will display on the control panel, and then the 30-minutes will begin to count down.
Flash forward time.  When the 30-minutes has elapsed.  The pressure cooker will beep and automatically begin to drop down in pressure on its own.  Which may take a little while since it’s a big pot of food.  So simply turn the valve to “Exhaust” and let all the pressure steam release completely.  Then you can unlock and open the lid.

While the contents are still hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste; then add the ketchup and stir thoroughly.  Leave the lid open and let it stand for about 10-minutes.
This is probably about the time you’re thinking to yourself, the soup is orangy brown.  How can you fix or save it?  Well, my solution is not a 100% fixer, but adding a few drops of red food coloring sort of did the trick for me.  😛  I am such a cheater!!!
Another fix that might to do the trick is to use beet juice as well.  You can save a couple of beets and puree it in a food processor and add it into the soup at the end while it’s hot.  I didn’t try this one but I’ll make sure to test it out next time.

Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and dill.  The flavor of the soup is slightly sweet because of the beets.  The meat is super soft and tender.  All the vegetables have melded together giving a wonderful hearty and rich texture.  Perfect on a rainy day…….make that a rainy week!!!
(You can change this recipe up by adding different vegetables like carrots, peas or even mushrooms.  There is a wide variety of different ways to make it. )

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  1. Alena on the 19. Mar, 2012 remarked #

    To keep the color: at the start of cooking when you add the beets, add a tablespoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar.

  2. Audrey Krones on the 11. Oct, 2012 remarked #

    I used PCH Search to find a Beef, Beet and Cabbage Borscht cooked in pressure cooker. I was sure surprised when it came right up with you.
    It is cooking right now.
    The only thing I did different was I had one Leek in fridge that neede to be used so I sliced it up small and added with the Purple onion. (everyone makes it their own don’t they. Also used Alena’s Idea and used vinegar (Balsamic) No sugar.
    Thank you. I will check your sight more often. I have a Wolfgang Puck Cooker.

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  5. Ruth S. on the 22. Jun, 2013 remarked #

    Just made it with a few variations: used Mexican crema vice sour cream (no s/c on hand), instead of real beef, I used Gardein’s beef like (veggie protein) tips, and kept everything else the same. Family liked it, but Hubby isn’t a big fan of veggie meat substitutes. He fished the chunks out and said he preferred real beef be used or none at all. Despite it, he liked the flavor overall. I used canned whole beets and chunked it up, saved the juice and added it at the end; my borscht had the signature lovely red color. Thank you for sharing. I LOVE your site and plan to visit & utilize your recipes often. God bless!

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  7. Alexa on the 03. Sep, 2014 remarked #

    Try baking the beets in the oven to preserve colour, flavour and nutrients. Just clean the beets (do not peel or remove the root, leave about 1 inch of the stem at the top), enclose the individual beets in aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for about an hour. Timing depends on size of beets. Test with a skewer for doneness.
    Peel just slips off.

  8. Anna on the 16. Oct, 2015 remarked #

    If you will bake beets in oven then grate on a grater and on the end of cooking you willadd just a small spoon od vinegar. You will have better, deeper color. There is a fantestic recipe for a cold soup with beets and yoghurt in polish cousine it’s cold chłodnik litewski/ Lithuanian could soup.(it’s just a name,it’s got nothing from Lithuania).

  9. John on the 18. Nov, 2015 remarked #

    As other people have mentioned you use vinegar to maintain the color. Also, my Ukrainian girlfriend lightly simmers the beets separately in a pan with the vinegar and just enough tomato juice to cover them. Don’t add them to the rest of the soup until it is finished. Your soup will then maintain a bright color.

  10. Shirley Pulawski on the 20. Aug, 2016 remarked #

    We always used lemon juice to hold the color, and to add flavor, but as others have said, vinegar works. It has to have an acid.

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