Measure all the ingredients.
Prepare tomatoes. Bring water to a boil. Score tomatoes and blanch them for 2-3 minutes (depends on variety and their skin). Place them in cold water to cool down. Remove the skin and hard core in tomato center. Puree the rest with 3 cloves of garlic. (Skip this step if using store-bought tomato puree.)
Sautee chopped onions until translucent and aromatic. Add carrots and beetroots. Add some salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir and cook on low heat until soft and fragrant. Allow vegetables to caramelize slightly, to develop their flavors. The taste will depend on how the root vegetables were grown and their variety. If they have retained a lot of their natural sugars, you won’t need to add any sugar later.
Add tomato puree, dry herbs and spices, cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes on low heat. Remove the lid. Continue cooking and stirring until most of the liquid is evaporated. Taste it. Balance the taste with sugar and salt. If tomatoes were not sour enough, you need to add vinegar. The flavor of this mixture is, ideally, very rich and complex. It has to reflect the balanced combination of sourness and sweetness, be sufficiently salty, and capture the earthiness of the root vegetables. It is very important to preserve the intensity of all four of these flavors so that they are still present after the mixture is diluted with the relatively large volume of liquid broth.
In a large pot, mix the cold beef stock (or your alternative cooking liquid) with shelled beans and the sauce you prepared in step 3. Place on high heat and bring to a boiling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered.
Taste a bean from the soup. It should be soft, but not mushy. Add cabbage, green onions, and fresh herbs and bring to a boil again.
Dice and mix smoked bacon with garlic. Add it to the boiling borsch and turn the heat off.
A borsch is never ready to serve immediately. All the flavors need a few hours to “marry”. It is will be ready to serve the following day. Smachnogo! (Ukrainian for Bon Appetite!)