I am not sure that I can get away with calling this Borscht as there are so many variations of recipe, by geography, nationality or personal choice. This is really just beetroot soup, a lovely one that is easy to make.
I am a big beetroot fan and do tend to eat a lot in stir fries, vivid pink sushi rolls and beetroot hummous. It strikes me that beetroot should be the favourite vegetable of almost every girl from 2 - 12 as they dart in and out of their 'pink' phase, yet my daughter spent years hating beetroot, so much so that we took to hiding it in tomato pasta sauces and stews as well as in chocolate cake. I have only just discovered that I like lightly vinegared beetroot, which I have avoided due to memories of sharp squidgy chunks as part of a 1970's Sunday tea at my aunty's house. I was obviously just too young then! It feels as though we used to visit aunty for tea almost every week, though I am sure that is not the case, as they had pretty busy lives. Tea was a proper high tea. Lettuce, tomatoes, salad cream (decanted), sliced bread (yippee!), slices of ham, pickled onions and a really good cup of tea. I really miss Aunty's tea, it was strong but not bitter, dark yet not full of tannins and I loved the way the spoon clinked the china tea cup as I stirred in the sugar. Delicious! It is funny how memories stick in your mind. At one stage the road collapsed outside their house, leaving a stonking great hole and no vehicle access. In my head, this huge and slightly ominous hole was there for years ... though I am sure that the council must have filled it in quite quickly.
- 750g raw beetroot - peel and chop
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 carrot, peeled & finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, peeled & finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled & finely chopped
- 1L chicken stock + additional water if required
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- salt & pepper
- soured cream, horseradish & dill to serve
Add the heap of peeled and chopped beetroot
Cover with stock and add extra water if required until you have 4cm above the level of the beetroot.
Add a bay leaf if you have one and leave to simmer with a lid semi-covering until the beetroot is soft, around 45 minutes.
Puree the soup then allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes to thicken and concentrate the flavours. Season with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper before serving.
This is delicious served with a horseradish cream and fresh dill.