Winter soup – Borscht

As it happens, our weekly delivery of local vegetables in winter often comes with the exact ingredients for Russian borscht soup.

When A and I met, there were many foods he wouldn't eat: beetroots, cabbage, boiled potatoes, french cheeses, olives, capers... Most of those misconceptions have been fixed and it makes me particularly happy that he now appreciates both beetroots and cabbage – delicious, cheap and healthy as they are.

In winter the veggie landscape of Northern Europe is a bit dull, indeed it's mostly beetroot, cabbage and carrot. Luckily, together they make borscht! It's a simple soup: after a bit of peeling and chopping it practically makes itself, and with a dollop of sour cream it's a hearty winter soup.

Thank goodness A agrees!

Perfect vegetarian borscht soup 

(4 large portions)
Organic olive oil
2 onions
2-3 organic garlic cloves, crushed
3 beetroots
500g cabbage, shredded or sliced
3-5 carrots, thickly sliced
4-5 potatoes, cubed
(50g dried mushrooms – optional, we had some and they add depth to the flavour)
1.5l water
2 organic vegetable stock cubes
(100ml white wine – optional, but I had some leftovers to use up)
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
10 black peppercorns
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve with a generous dollop of Russian "smetana" or full-fat organic sour cream.

Peel and prepare the vegetables. Fry the chopped onion, crushed garlic cloves and the shredded cabbage in olive oil for about five minutes. Add all ingredients but the potatoes and let simmer quietly for about an hour – add the potatoes about 20 minutes before the end so that they will be done but not over-cooked. If the flavour is flat, adjust with white wine vinegar and salt.


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