Sunday, 13 September 2009


Yes, borscht looks like it needs an exclamation point to me. Like something you would shout triumphantly. Borscht!

This is a healthy soup that I had never made before. My mother went through a borscht phase when I was young, and though I can't remember if I ever actually tried any at the time.. it was enough to make me avoid it for the next thirty-some-odd years.

However, I found this recipe in Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite, and I happened to have all the ingredients in the fridge. This is saying a lot, as I have next to nothing left and am about to go shopping today.

*I am a little too sensitive to watch Ramsay on tv, but I am willing to give his books a try as I hear his recipes are excellent.

Borscht can be eaten hot, cold or room temperature. What a cooperative soup!

Gordon Ramsay, Healthy Appetite
Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and minced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and minced
1 large carrot, peeled and minced
1 thyme sprig, leaves stripped
sea salt and black pepper
1 lb raw beets, peeled and chopped
1/4 red cabbage, about 8 oz, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, to taste
1 tsp superfine sugar, to taste
handful of dill, chopped (I would have loved to use dill, but I had none left in the garden. I used parsley instead)
4 Tbsp sour cream, or plain yogurt, to serve (I used yogurt)


Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme leaves, and some seasoning. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8 - 10 minutes.

Add the beet and cabbage with a small splash of water. Stir well, then cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Lift the lid and give the mixture a stir several time during cooking to stop the vegetables catching and burning on the bottom of the pan.

Remove the lid and pout in the stock or water to cover the vegetables. Add the wine vinegar, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Skim off any froth from the surface. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar.

Puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth and creamy, or leave it chunky for a traditional, rustic finish. If you decide to puree the soup, you may need to thin it down slightly with a little boiling water. (I blended half of mine, for a chunky soup)

Ladle into warm bowls if serving hot; otherwise let cool, then chill thoroughly. Serve topped with the chopped dill and a spoonful of sour cream.

Colourful borscht for Souper Sunday!