Mary’s Beet Borscht

Journal | February 7, 2018

Back in December, we shared Chef Matty Neufeld’s recipe for Butternut Squash Tortellini with you. This post highlighted some of the reasons that Matty chose this dish for our menu and the history behind it.  We wanted to share a little bit more about Matty’s philosophy behind cooking and how that influences our menu here at Pineridge Hollow.

Hi, my name is Matthew Neufeld and I am the Executive Chef at Pineridge Hollow. Food is my passion and my life. I am always thinking about food; from the moments I wake up, while I’m at work, and in my downtime. Whether it’s deciding on what to eat after a workout at the gym or a night out with cocktails – food is always on my mind. For me, food is a never-ending journey of learning. It excites all our 5 senses, it can be used as fuel or medicine for our bodies and is also a primary necessity of life. At the end of the day, I am only one part of the food chain, but I am proud to say that I am in love with cooking and my job.

Becoming a chef has been a dream of mine for quite some time. I was able to achieve this goal when I was hired at Pineridge Hollow two summers ago. Being a chef has many components to it; balancing the teaching and management of staff, coordinating and ordering with vendors and of course creating and actually cooking in the kitchen. But the most interesting this I find about my job is what happens within the dining room. Our creations, little pieces of edible art are brought to the table and the second that dish lands in front of our guests, that moment is everything to me. Will the dish be up to their expectations? Will they taste the dish before adding salt or pepper? Will they understand and appreciate the ingredients and why they were chosen to be served together?

For so many people, eating is simply fuel for our bodies. We are busy doing other things and just eat to live. For us in the kitchen, it is so much more than that. There is a journey behind every ingredient that is served. Our suppliers can share the stories of how the ingredients were grown or cared for before they arrived at our restaurant. When the ingredients arrive here it is our job to showcase their unique qualities and incorporate them into a delicious dish. I hope to share those stories with our guests and help them to increase their knowledge of food and drink.

Now, I’m not saying I’m here to change the world, but if I can change a few people’s mindsets about eating, then I’ve done a better job than expected. Here I hope to write about my menu choices, the faces behind the ingredients, why the ingredients are chosen to pair together. This is the story we want to share with our menu at Pineridge Hollow.

The ingredients

Borsht is not hard to come by in Manitoba, and it makes sense since beets are in abundance here. Most of our farm suppliers offer beets to us, but this year we were able to get a huge amount of cylinder beets from our own gardens at Oak Knoll Farm. Cylinder beets hold their colour better than other varieties and help us offer a consistent sized product for our famous Beet Chips.

We use a mix of red and green cabbage for our borsht, most of this is supplied through our good friends at Wild Earth Farms or Oak Valley Farms in Morden. Do you buy your cabbage local? Trust me – it’s better!

We also make our own chicken stock to add a boost of flavour to this soup. We roast the bones and carcasses from the full chickens we receive from Oak Knoll Farms and then simmer them on low for 3-4 hours to make a beautiful stock. Making your own stock is not only delicious, it also offers a lot more health benefits than store bought chicken broth.

The story

I first tried our borsht recipe at Pineridge Hollow, I had to admit it was one of the best I’ve ever had. This recipe was created by our soup chef, Mary who worked here many years ago, but the recipe is so good, it stuck. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The staff that have been with us for many years tell the story of Mary who used to come in solely to make soups. She was a shorter lady, so she was often found standing on a step ladder to be able to stir the soups in a big stock pot on the stove.

See the recipe below, or click here to download and print your very own recipe card.



2 tbsp canola oil

½ a head of celery, diced medium

1 large onion, diced medium

2 medium carrots, diced medium

1 tbsp chopped garlic

2.5 lbs red beets, chopped

½ head each green & red cabbage, shredded

1 cup tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes

4 L chicken stock

1 L beet juice (reserved from cooking)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

¼ cup ketchup

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp dried dill

Salt & pepper to taste

Fresh dill & sour cream for garnish


  • Boil or steam chopped beets and reserve cooking liquid.
  • In a large soup pot, sweat celery, carrots, onion & garlic in canola oil until translucent
  • Add dried dill and cook on low for 5 minutes
  • Add chicken stock and tomato paste and bring to boil
  • Add all other ingredients and simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours
  • Serve topped with sour cream and fresh chopped dill
  • Yeild – 7.5 Litres