In case you do not know, I was born in Russia, and at the risk of sounding like an eskimo, Siberia to be more precise. I remember getting wrapped up very warm in -20C temperatures and craving a steaming bowl of borsch. Despite everyone thinking there’s a t at the end of this traditional Russian beetroot soup, there really isn’t. Today I am going to give away the authentic recipe but be warned, only a true Russian can actually master it (I guess that’s why mine doesn’t taste as good as my mum’s!).
If you’re up for the challange, however, this is what you’ll need:
· A can of stewed beef or beef goulash
· Half a medium cabbage
· 2 medium potatoes
· 1 raw beetroot
· Half an onion, chopped
· Half a carrot
· 1 medium tomato
· 1 beef stock cube
· 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
· 1 medium chilli pepper- deseeded
· 1 or 2 garlic cloves
· 1 teaspoon of vinegar
· 1 cup of juice from a jar of pickled gherkins (that’s what makes it authentic and so delicious!)
· 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon of sugar
· Dry herbs: 1 teaspoon of basil and 3 bay leafs and some peppercorns!
· Sour cream and fresh dill to garnish
(I never said it’d be easy!)
If that list hasn’t scared you off, first thing you have to do is boil half a pan of water. While that’s doing, de-skin the tomato and peel and cube the potatoes. When the water is boiled, add the can of stewed beef to the pan and leave until simmering. Cut the cabbage into strips then put in the pan with the potatoes. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes and while that’s cooking, chop the tomato, grate the carrot, peel and grate the raw beetroot, chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Fry onion, garlic and chilli in some oil then separately fry the rest of the veg until soft. Mix all together and add the sugar, cinnamon, tomato puree and herbs. Add to the large pan of beef mixture and add gherkin juice and vinegar, followed by the stock cube. Simmer for 10-15 minutes before serving in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill. This soup can be reheated and actually tastes better the next day once the flavours have had the chance to develop fully! Na zdorovye!