I immigrated to the United States from western Russia in 1998. When I made friends, I found that many people had heard of Borscht, a traditional soup made with fresh beets, but few knew how to cook it. So I prepared this recipe from my grandmother, and everyone seemed to like it.—Svetlana Chriscaden, Falconer, New York
Place the first six ingredients in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute beets in 1 tablespoon oil for 3 minutes. stir in vinegar; set aside. Remove beef with a slotted spoon; cool. Remove meat from the bones; discard bones. Cut meat into chunks; set aside. strain broth, discarding peppercorns and bay leaves. Skim fat. Add enough water to broth to measure 6 cups; return to kettle. Add potatoes, carrots, cabbage, parsley and beets. Bring to a boil.
In a skillet, saute onion in remaining oil for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with flour; stir until blended. Whisk into soup. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. add tomatoes. process soup in small batches in a blender or food processor; pour into a large saucepan. Add beef; heat through. Garnish with sour cream.