Hot borscht is a grand affair, but chilled borscht is much simpler, with the beets taking center stage.
Why This Recipe Works
While developing our chilled borscht recipe, we found that cooking beets in water was the best method since it produced a liquid base on which to build a soup. We boiled whole beets until tender so they retained as much of their flavor as possible. We didn't bother peeling the beets until after cooking them; using a paper towel, we could rub the skins right off the cooked beets. We preferred the chilled borscht recipe made with the water rather than stock, which overwhelmed the flavor of the beets.
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