Monday, 30 May 2016
Vegetarian Borscht with Beet Leaves
Last week we had a farmers' market in town. It happens once a month ( we have a usual weekly fruit & veg market too, but it's not necessarily selling local produce), and whenever I have a chance, I enjoy buying locally grown veggies as well as freshly made butter, cheese and other food products.
This time I bought a delicious Cotswolds honey, a block of Cheddar and Farmhouse butter, plus a bag of fresh peas in pods as well as spring onions and beets.
I was lucky to find very fresh beets at the farmers' market, it would have been a sin not to use the fresh leaves when they looked so good. They taste wonderful in soups, and make a great substitute for cabbage.
I haven't cooked borscht for a while, and really fancied some. You can make it a vegetarian or vegan. And if you're a meat eater, then there is a variety of meat-based borscht recipes too.
Vegetarian borscht with beet leaves
2 small beets
a big bunch of beet leaves (from 4 small beets)
2tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot
1 clove of garlic
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree (I used Supercirio double concentrated tomato puree)
1 big potato
1tsp vegetable stock (powdered)
Peel and chop the beets (first in quarters, then slice thinly). Thoroughly wash the beet leaves, and chop them finely as well.
Heat up 2tbsp of olive oil in the frying pan and fry the beets for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the finely chopped garlic and carrot, cook for another couple of minutes before adding a chopped tomato and cooking for 2-3 minutes more.
Put the contents of the frying pan into a medium sized pan, cover with water and cook for about half an hour.
Add the peeled and chopped potatoes in the last 20 minutes of cooking, while the beet leaves should be cooked no more than 5 minutes.
Add a tablespoon of tomato puree and a bit of a vegetable stock too. Season well.
Serve hot, with freshly chopped spring onions or flat leaf parsley. A spoonful of soured cream or Greek style yougurt wouldn't go amiss, and you might also add a halved hard-boiled egg too.
It is a lovely spring soup, full of flavour and colour.
I used a Supercirio double concentrated tomato puree from Cirio, an Italian brand known for its tomato products. But if you don't have this particular brand of tomato puree, any good quality similar product would do.
You could also try a different version of this beetroot soup, cooked with new nettle tips - see my recipe for Vegetarian borscht with the nettles.
If you're a meat eater, have a look at my Mum's borscht recipe.
Sharing my recipe with a few foodie linkies - Recipe of the Week