Thursday, 9 December 2010

A souped up supper

Borscht is an Eastern European beetroot soup which incorporates a fickle range of seasonal root vegetables, according to what's available.  I ate a lot of borscht travelling in Ukraine and Russia as it's often the sole vegetarian option on an otherwise meat-filled menu, so it's a testament to the deliciousness of this soup that I still like to eat it.

Beetroot and cabbage are the only regulars in this whimsical mix, both of which are uber-healthy and mercifully affordable at this time of year.  But the prosaic ingredients belie the unusual flavours of this dish, with the sweetness of the broth tempered by the sourness of the cream and lemon, and all scented with the heady fragrance of fresh dill.  It's good with a hunk of crusty sourdough bread to turn crimson as you dunk it in.

Borscht with sour cream and dill

Serves 4

2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
500g cooked beetroot, diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
¼ red cabbage, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1300ml vegetable stock
a bay leaf
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
sour cream
chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper

1) Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sautée the onions for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for another minutes or two before adding the beetroot, carrots, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, stock and bay leaf. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.

2) Season the soup to taste, and serve with a healthy dollop of sour cream and a scattering of fragrant chopped dill.

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