Beef, pork or a combination of both are most commonly used, with brisket, ribs, shank and chuck considered to give the most flavorful results, especially if cooked on a high flame.
The traditional technique of preparing the soup is to precook the vegetables – by sautéing, braising, boiling or baking – separately from the meat and only then to combine them with the stock.
With time, it evolved into a diverse array of tart soups, among which the beet-based red borscht has become the most popular.
It is typically made by combining meat or bone stock with sautéed vegetables, which – as well as beetroots – usually include cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.
Some recipes call for smoked meats, resulting in a distinctively smoky borscht, while others use poultry or mutton stock.
Fasting varieties are typically made with fish stock to avoid the use of meat, while purely vegetarian recipes often substitute forest mushroom broth for the stock.
Other aromatics often added to borscht include allspice, celery stalks, parsley, marjoram, hot peppers, saffron, horseradish, ginger and prunes.