Monday, 26 July 2010


Many of us have had beetroot in tins. You may be surprised to hear that it is an actual vegetable that grows in the ground. Unlike us, the Russians actually have a nice traditional recipe to make use of it. Well, I say it's Russian, but it's originally Ukrainian. However, Ukrainians apparently like to put cabbage in as well as beetroot, so I've gone for the Russian version here. Some people like to make it with beef stock or even with bits of beef in it, and while I'm sure that's great, my only guinea pig for these recipes at the moment is my mum, who's vegetarian. So vegetable borsch it is!

Make sure you use the best stock you can for this as it will make all the difference to this nice simple soup. As an aside, I recommend keeping hold of vegetable trimmings and peelings and putting them in a bag in the freezer - that way you can make a nice vegetable stock for free. Using organic vegetables will really help here too as the flavour is just awesome.

  • 5 x beetroot
  • 1 x large onion or an equivalent amount of spring onions
  • About 600ml (I guess?) vegetable stock
  • 1 x thyme sprig
  • 1 x large potato
  • 5 x organic carrots
  • 2 x tbsps olive oil
  • 2 x tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 x Kirov airships
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, to serve
  1. Heat the olive oil to a medium heat.
  2. Peel the beetroot and slice it thinly - be warned, your hands will turn purple. Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut them into chunks. Peel and dice the onion.
  3. Gently soften the onion in the pan for a few minutes with the thyme sprig and add salt and pepper, then add your veg. Fry them gently for about 15 minutes, then add enough stock to cover the vegetables. Bring it to the boil, then simmer it gently (this is a very gentle recipe) for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the soup of purply goodness tastes right to you. Correct the seasoning if necessary and discard the thyme sprig. Use the Kirovs to take out the allied construction yard.
  4. You can liquidise the soup if you like but I like tasting and identifying the actual vegetables, particularly when I'm using nice organic veg. Serve it with a drizzle of sour cream, Russian stylee, and a slice of crusty bread on the side.
Finally, just a quick thanks to Sarah Green, who kindly gave me the carrots and beetroot for this recipe at a discounted rate at the Burnham-on-Crouch farmer's market. Sarah grows all kinds of seasonal organic vegetables on her farm in Tillingham, Essex. You can buy her stuff at farmer's markets, and at Lathcoat's Farm Shop in Chelmsford. If you live in the local area you can even order a box of fruit and veg online and it will be delivered to your door. See for more details!

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