"While many traditional borscht recipes come out a muted red, this recipe produces a bright purple soup that is delicious, hearty, satisfying, and beautiful. Excellent served as a main course or with blinchiki on the side."
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, scrub the beets well, and do not peel. Cut off the tails and shoots, and place in the boiling water. These will cook while the rest of the soup is prepared.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until translucent. Then, add the mushrooms, and continue to stir and cook until both are soft, about 10 minutes. Add in the carrots and celery, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the tomatoes and the tomato paste. As the celery and carrots soften, add this mixture along with half of the dill and the vegeta or bouillon. Once the tomato puree stops tasting raw--about 10 minutes--the beets should be about done, and can be removed and placed in the freezer to quickly cool. Reserve the beet water for use in the soup.
At this time, the potatoes and beans (along with the can liquid) should be added to the soup along with the beet water and about 6 more cups, making a total of about 8-10 cups of water. Cook the soup until the carrots and potatoes are soft.
Once they have cooled, grate the beets and add them along with the cabbage and the remaining dill. Cover, lower the heat, and allow the borscht to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the cabbage wilts. As a final touch, add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
Best served 2 hours after completion, or the following day, with sour cream. Blinchiki are an excellent accompaniment to this dish.