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Rich, homemade beef broth adds depth of flavor to Aki Goldberg’s outstanding borscht. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

A common question to ask about a restaurant’s menu is: “What’s the soup of the day?” For Aki Goldberg, this was a query she heard at family meals from a young age. 

“My father loved to eat and always said a meal without soup was not a meal,” explains Goldberg, who sells her popular, made-from-scratch soups at the Westhampton Beach farmers market. “I grew up eating soup almost daily. My mother and father were both Holocaust survivors, and food was more than just nourishment. It was like a security blanket because it’s something that they didn’t have during the war.” 

From her business Aki’s Kitchen, Goldberg makes a bevy of soups (that often sell-out faster than she can make them!). (Photo credit: Doug Young)

The inherent love of sharing food with others may be the driving force behind Goldberg’s cooking and catering venture, Aki’s Kitchen, which is approaching its fourth year in business, thanks to many repeat customers. “I’m so humbled and proud that people come from over an hour away weekly to pick up my food at the farmers market,” says Goldberg. “That’s evidence enough that I’m doing something well.”

Goldberg strives to keep her recipes simple yet wholesome, evoking childhood memories. “My mom was an excellent cook who made uncomplicated food,” she recounts. “I think that’s the most challenging way of cooking, to take simplicity to the next level.” 

Goldberg prefers to source ingredients locally — often from Share the Harvest in East Hampton. This is evident in the beets she selects for her vibrant, tangy borscht recipe. “In this particular soup,” she says, “the beets are from KK’s [The Farm], a family-run, biodynamic farm in Southold.” 

Goldberg also encourages beet haters to try this traditional beetroot soup, which originated in Ukraine and is enjoyed in several Eastern European countries.

“I think what turns many people off beets is in the preparation, often tasting too earthy,” Goldberg explains. “It’s important to keep the balance of the natural flavor of the beet while infiltrating it with a quality, homemade broth.”

Here, the use of beef broth, made from short ribs or flanken (a cut of meat from the front end of the ribs), deepens the flavor of this satisfying dish. Complete your bowl of borscht with a dollop of sour cream and minced, fresh dill. Serving alongside rye bread and good butter is also encouraged. But the most delightful aspect of this historic dish may be its vibrancy.

“This soup brings delicious color into your life,” says Goldberg,” just like when spring returns, and we need it after a dark winter.”

Find Aki’s Kitchen soups and other delicious items at the Westhampton Beach Farmers Market, operating indoors on Saturdays through April 27 at Saint Mark Episcopal Church (40 Main St., Westhampton Beach), and on the village green starting Saturday, May 6.

Print Recipe

Aki Goldberg’s borscht

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes


  • 3 lbs short ribs
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 lbs red beets, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 lb yellow potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked
  • 1/3 lb shredded red or green cabbage (Goldberg prefers green)
  • fresh dill, parsley, sour cream and rye bread


  • Put short ribs, onion, parsnip, celery root, carrots, garlic cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves in a soup pot, cover with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam off the surface, cover partially and reduce to a simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cover the cut-up beets with 2 quarts of water, add the sugar and lemon juice and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the short ribs from the soup pot and set aside, strain the broth and discard the vegetables. Chop the meat in small pieces or shred it. Clean out the pot and pour the strained broth back in with the meat. Add the beets with their liquid.
  • Add the shredded cabbage, adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice*, and simmer until meat is very tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Add your boiled potatoes toward the final 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Plate in warm bowls. Garnish with fresh dill and/or parsley and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with fresh rye bread (optional). Bon appetit!
  • * Note: Depending how sweet or tangy you like it, you can also add a splash of red wine or sherry vinegar.