Borscht – Clear, meat based Eastern European beetroot soup

Credits: Ceri, ZENXIN Master Chef

Possibly originating in Ukraine, this Slavic soup is served hot or cold in Russia, Poland and the Northern Slavic countries. 

This beetroot version is known for its beautiful colour and belongs to the family of sour soups. There is also a white potato version more common in Poland, served with kielbasa and also a green version made with spinach and sorrel leaves. 

This beetroot version is known for its beautiful colour and belongs to the family of sour soups. There is also a white potato version more common in Poland, served with kielbasa and also a green version made with spinach and sorrel leaves. 

Beetroot contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant Betalain, which helps break down toxins for elimination, purifying both liver and blood. Betaine is an amino acid which helps reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver and excess build up of homocysteine in the body. This reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Thirdly, beetroots are rich in nitrates which convert in the body to nitric acid, relaxing and dilating blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Nitrates are thought to improve athletic performance.

Properly made bone broth contains gelatin. Glutamine, an amino acid in gelatin, is thought to heal a compromised intestinal wall in the condition known as “leaky gut”. The vegetable phytonutrients in the broth plus those from the beetroot, herbs, allium family and Savoy cabbage contribute to an amazingly healing soup.

Ingredients:

  • 250g trimmed Pork Shoulder
  • 250g trimmed Beef Chuck
  • 250g Ham Hock
  • 3 cups Beef Stock
  • 3 cups Filtered Water
  • 3 bay Leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Simply Natural black peppercorns
  • A sprig of Fresh Organic Thyme
  • 250g Organic Beetroot, roasted and cut into 1/4″-thick half-moons
  • 2 Organic Leeks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 Organic Onion, finely chopped
  • ½ small head Savoy Cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon Organic White Wine Vinegar or Organic Lemon Juice
  • Simply Natural French Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • A swirl of Kefir and sprig of Fresh Herbs to garnish

Method:

  1. Wash beetroot to remove soil and roast in skins at 200°C for 45 mins to intensify flavour.
  2. Prepare meat, removing skin, bone and excess fat.
  3. Cook meat, herbs, water and stock in a cast iron pot in the same oven until tender, about 2 hrs.
  4. Remove, cool and peel the beetroot, cut into half moon pieces and set aside.
  5. Top, tail and peel the onion.
  6. Wash the leeks, reserve the greens for another dish and cut the white into rings.
  7. Remove meat from broth and leave to cool, then tear into small pieces.
  8. Stir-fry the onion and leek in a large pan, then add in stock, meat and cabbage.
  9. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add in the beetroot half moons.
  10. When vegetables are fully cooked, add in the vinegar/lemon juice.
  11. Adjust seasoning, pour into bowls and garnish with kefir and fresh herbs.

The Ingredients

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