Chop the vegetables, except the beetroot, and add to 1½L/2¼pt of boiling water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Peel and thinly slice the beetroot and place in a separate pan with the peppercorns, pimento and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, in ½ litre/¾ pint of water for 30 minutes.
Sieve the vegetable and beetroot stocks and combine the clear liquids, discarding the vegetables. Return the borscht to the heat. Add the red wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper, sugar and garlic. Simmer for 20 minutes. If the borscht has lost some of its colour during the cooking process, add the juice of a grated raw beetroot. Serve with Usrke (Polish dumplings).
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