Classic Borscht

For Borscht:
3 medium beets, peeled and grated
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
8 cups chicken broth , + 2 cups water
3 medium yukon potatoes, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
For Zazharka (Mirepoix):
2 celery ribs, trimmed and finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped, optional
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp ketchup or 3 Tbsp tomato sauce

Additional Flavorings:
1 can white cannelini beans with their juice
2 bay leaves
2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, or to taste

1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 large garlic clove, pressed
3 Tbsp chopped dill

Peel, grate and/or slice all vegetables (keeping sliced potatoes in cold water to prevent browning until ready to use then drain).

Heat a large soup pot (5 1/2 Qt or larger) over medium/high heat and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add grated beets and sauté 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beets are softened.

Add 8 cups broth and 2 cups water. Add sliced potatoes and sliced carrots then cook for 10-15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

While potatoes are cooking, place a large skillet over medium/high heat and add 2 Tbsp oil. Add chopped onion, celery and bell pepper. Saute stirring occasionally until softened and lightly golden (7-8 minutes). Add 4 Tbsp Ketchup and stir fry 30 seconds then transfer to the soup pot to continue cooking with the potatoes.

When potatoes and carrots reach desired softness, add 1 can of beans with their juice, 2 bay leaves, 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 3 Tbsp chopped dill. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes and add more salt and vinegar to taste.