I am half Polish and half Italian. My father use to call us "Po wops". This is a soup my Babka and mother use to make. As a child I hated it. Beets tasted too earthy for me. As an adult its like a little bit of heaven. When I make it, I freeze individual servings for myself. My husband and children have not come to understand the virtues of red beet soup... yet. For now, I get it all to myself. Its a quick and satisfying lunch.
You can make it with or without meat. I like it both ways. The recipe here is with meat as this is how the beet soup in this picture was made.
1 lb of a chunk of beef, preferably a piece of chuck roast
5 cups of broth or water (that is approximately 3 cans of beef broth)
1 cup chopped onion
4 medium sized potatoes, cubed
a bunch of beets, about 5 beets the size of a tennis ball
the greens of the beets or spinach
Saute onions in a soup pot, when translucent add the beef and braise. Add water or broth and potatoes to soup and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer the soup. Let it simmer until beef is tender. Approximately one hour. While the beef is simmering, shred the beets. I use a knuckle buster rather then the food processor. Chop the greens. Add beets and greens. Cook for another 1/2 hour. When soup is finished you can add white vinegar to taste. This is usually done to counter the sweetness of the beets. It is not necessary. You only need about a tablespoon but its to taste. Some people put heavy cream in at this point, which is very good. However, if you are trying to save your calories for cupcakes then go for a dollop of sour cream instead. I use 1/3 less fat sour cream and really like it. There are probably as many ways to make this soup as there are Russians and Poles.