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Borscht

This chunky soup comes from Ukraine. Traditionally it is madwith beetroot, beef and vegetables - but we've given you lots of options to make it just to your taste!

For the base

  • 1tbsp butter or oil
  • 450g beetroot, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced*
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped*
  • 1½ltr (2¾pt) beef stock (or vegetable stock)
  • ½ a green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 2tbsp canned tomatoes*
To serve
  • 300g (10½oz) sirloin steak*
  • Soured cream or crème fraiche or natural yoghurt*
  • 1tbsp fresh dill*
*optional but best if included

Method
1. Heat the oil or butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the beetroot, carrot, celery, potato, onion and garlic, then sauté for a couple of minutes until the veg are well combined and coated with the fat. Add the stock and season with salt and black pepper.
2. Bring the soup almost to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and tomatoes. Cover the pan and leave the soup to simmer for another 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Its that easy!
If youre making the traditional meaty borscht, follow the steps below. Otherwise, skip to step 5 (you can even skip that if youre short of time or just dont fancy it!)
3. Trim the fat off the steak. Heat a griddle pan until it is smoking and cook the steak for just a couple of minutes on each side. Remove the steak and leave it to rest for 5 minutes, then slice it as thinly as you can and add any meat juices to the soup.
4. To serve, divide the strips of steak between the soup bowls and ladle the soup on top.
5. Add dollops of soured cream/crème fraiche/natural yoghurt, if using, and a sprinkling of dill.
Other options…
You could use celeriac instead of celery and/or potato. It has a potato-like texture, and a mild celery flavour.;
Kale is a great alternative to cabbage.;
You could swap the tomatoes for a pepper (fresh or from a tin/jar!). Theyre actually from closely related plants, even though they taste so different. The taste may be different, but its still delicious!
Other meats work just as well as beef. Youll get a very different meal, but it will be just as delicious and nutritious. You could try chicken (make sure its fully cooked!), lamb/mutton, sausages, even fish!
Dill is traditional (and really lovely), but you could use parsley if you prefer a milder flavour. A shredded spring onion is lovely too.;

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