Simple vegetarian borscht soup – incredibly vibrant and unbelievably delicious. Serve with sour cream, fresh dill and puff pastry hearts ❤️
I have mentioned before how I am not very good making, or rather sticking to, resolutions. Still despite my resolution NOT to make any resolutions, I did kind of end up making a couple, almost without realising. So were forced upon me, like my effort to be more organised. It’s not like I suddenly woke up and everything was in order, but I am finally taking some steps to tackle the chaos, especially where my accounting is concerned. And before you all start yawning and clicking off – I don’t blame you that stuff puts me in a coma too – let me quickly segway into something food related.
Phew! I nearly lost you. My other resolution is to have mostly vegetarian or vegan recipes for lunch. This is not something I actually thought long and hard about, but something that came about naturally. A lot of these recipes tend to be soups as they are easy to make while I get on with other tasks, healthy and filling. Today I finally got around to making borscht (beetroot soup) and it is even more delicious than I remember from the few times I have eaten it in restaurants. Borscht (or Borshch/ Borsht, there are a few different spellings) is popular in Eastern European countries and there’s probably as many versions of this recipe as there are cooks. Some recipes call for beef stock and have meat in them – this simple version is made only with vegetables and would be vegan if it weren’t for the sour cream topping.
The soup is incredibly simple to make if you employ a food processor to grate the vegetables. It is not all that complicated, but certainly more laborious, to make by hand but I prefer to use the food processor if only because beetroot has a tendency to stain everything it comes in contact with. The little puff pastry harts were a leftover from a Valentine’s recipe I developed for Brit+Co and easily made with leftover scraps of puff pastry. Obviously, they are not essential to the soup but the do look awfully pretty! While I can’t claim this recipe is authentic (for authentic Russian recipes visit my friend Julia’s blog!) it is certainly incredibly delicious, hearty and well worth making!
- 1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp ollive oil use only olive oil for a vegan version
- 3 large beetroot peeled
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 large onion peeled
- 1 large carrot peeled
- 1 small crisp apple peeled (optional)
- 400 g | 14oz chopped tomatoes from a tin
- 2 litres | 8 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock I used 2 Kallo stock cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch ground allspice
- salt and freshly ground pepper to season
- fresh dill to garnish
- sour cream to serve about 2 tbsp per serving omit for vegan version
- a little olive oil to drizzle
- Coarsely grate all the vegetables and apple - ideally using a food processor. If grating by hand, use a large box grater and take care to take as beetroot can stain your worktop (and certainly your hands).
- Add the butter and olive oil to a large pot and heat until butter melts.
- Tip all the grated vegetables/apple into the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, cloves and allspice and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Stir in a good handful of chopped fresh dill or add a little as a garnish.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of olive oil and the puff pastry hearts if using.
To make the puff pastry hearts, use pre-rolled puff pastry and cut out shapes using a small heart cutter. Brush with egg wash and cook in a preheated oven (220C/425F) for about 8 minutes or until puffed and golden.