My lovely boyfriend got some grain free inspiration and whipped up this tasty borscht. This is a beetroot based soup served in many Eastern European countries, particularly Poland and Russia. His recipe is a great way to use up leftover vegetable leaves and includes tasty animal fats in the stock. Thank you Simon!
- Root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, etc.)
- Any leaves you have (beetroot leaves work well)
- Raw beetroot
- Any other leftover vegetables
- Vinegar (preferably balsamic, cider or wine vinegar)
- Meat (optional)
- Salt and sweetness to taste
- Soured cream to garnish (optional)
Roughly chop up the leaves and pop them in a pan of boiling water with an organic, gluten free stock cube (I used a vegetable stock cube in this instance).
Whilst in itself, not the most appealing of foods, I know it will be great for improving the taste and consistency of my soup. But before we throw a couple of spoons in, we should stir the veggies once more and check on our leaves.
This is where it gets a little controversial for the veggie audience, if they got this far after a no grainer’s massive animal fat endorsement. Having cooked a fatty gammon joint the night before, I was left with an entire jar of gelatinous, salty, brown ham fat. I admit this is a little unappetising to say the least.
Ugh, they’re a bit smelly!
Not to worry, this is nothing some ham jelly won’t fix. First though, I think we should blend the leaves and stock together to give us a nicer consistency, I don’t much fancy the slimy leaves in my soup. Hand blenders are the best suited for this job, otherwise, I’m afraid it’s that time of the year the big blender comes out to play (and requires washing once more!)
Once blended I put in a nice dessertspoon of jelly in (or an amount suited to your taste).
Roughly chop your root vegetables (not including potatoes) and fry these in some fat.
At this point there is a decision to be made. Do we stick with our pragmatically vegetarian soup, or add in some meat? If we want just vegetarian, finish the soup off by adding the soup liquid to the chopped vegetables, season and if you have used beetroot stalks throw in some vinegar (balsamic, wine, white, or cider). Cut your potatoes into fine strips (don’t bother peeling) and add these in too. Or if you want a more meaty broth, throw in any bits of leftover meat, finely sliced, in addition to the steps above.
I should confess, the bits of pink in the photos of the chopped vegetables in a pan aren’t all beetroot. I did sneak some finely sliced streaky bacon earlier. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the swine.
I decide to supplement my pig meat with some of the aforementioned ham from last night.
Then leave to stew on a low heat for 15 minutes if you can wait. If you can’t, dig in – I’m sure you’ve got yourself a lovely, nutritious soup and have made the most of those off cuts of vegetables! If your soup is pleasantly acidic, you can drop in a dollop of soured cream to finish off.