4 – 5 persons
Beetroot or normally referred as beet is a root vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. I have never eaten or cooked beetroot until a few years ago. I have tried the cooked ones that can easily be bought and have tried using them in salad. I love its taste and texture. And of course, its bright colour!
I read beetroot is a superfood since it is high in vitamins and minerals. Also, it would help prevent cardiovascular problems and lower high blood pressure. When I was shopping for food one day, I came across beetroot and pomegranate juice which I thought was excellent! The combination of these two are match made in heaven!
Beetroot leaves are not only beautiful but they are tasty too! I have kept them seperately and used in stir-fry, which I thought was brilliant! They taste just like spinach!
Beetroot varies in colour and shape based on variety. The most common is the deep maroon globe shaped beet. This is the type that is normally available at the supermarket.
Borscht is one of the dishes that makes full use of beetroot, which I had tried during my previous trip to Moscow at an Ukrainian restaurant. It was one of the soups that I really love since then.
Borscht is very popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. Some recipes call for just beetroot as the main ingredient, however, there are some that are made with a combination of beetroots and tomatoes. It can be served hot or cold. For me, I prefer hot hearty soup.
My version of Borscht is pretty simple. Instead of using just beetroot and a small amount of tomato puree, I have also added some lamb to make this dish to be eaten as a meal itself instead of just appetiser or starter. Of course, you can omit the lamb to make this a vegetarian soup.
I don’t puree the soup but basically cook until the beetroot becomes soft and fall apart. So, this gives a bit more texture to the soup and you can still eat some pieces of beetroot.
For the Borscht:
2 tbsp olive oil
250g lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
1 garlic clove,
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
500g beetroots, peeled and grated
1 bouquet garni
800ml vegetable stock or beef stock
150ml tomato puree
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
some chopped parsley for garnishing
some sour cream for serving
1. Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a big saucepan over medium-high heat, add the lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil over medium heat, put the garlic and onion, cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the grated beetroots, cook for 2 minutes. Then, add bouquet garni, vegetable stock and tomato puree. Bring to the boil. Add the lamb, stir to mix well. Adjust the heat to low, put on the lid and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lamb is tender and the beetroot is soft. Skim off the scum from time to time.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Divide equal portion to individual bowls, swirl in some sour cream and garnish with parsley.