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Our take on a Ukrainian classic: Chunky Red Borscht Soup

We will be hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday the 16th of March 2022 for the British Red Cross at our little village hall and celebrating Ukrainian and Syrian cuisine. We are thrilled that so many of our neighbours will be coming along and we hope this will be the first of many and that we will raise a lot of money for a cause that is ever present in all of our hearts and minds.

 

The menu will include this gorgeous Borscht Soup recipe. It's very hard to know how best we can help the people of Ukraine at this time of tragedy for so many people fleeing the country. Celebrating the food of this vibrant and fiercely independent country feels like one simple way in which we can focus everyone's minds on thinking about how each individual might be able to contribute something, however small to the efforts of the people on the ground. 

 

We loved developing this recipe- it's full of deliciously sweet and hearty root vegetables as well as crunchy cabbage, lentils and buckwheat for added texture. Any dish that puts beetroots front and centre will always be a favourite of ours! For the topping we decided to go with some shredded Brussel Sprouts as we couldn't get hold of fresh dill (which would have been a more traditional Ukrainian topping) and we thought it would be nicer anyway to go with a more seasonal winter vegetable instead. The sour cream completes the dish and makes it one big warm and satisfying hug in a bowl.

 

We hope you enjoy!

 

El x

 

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

(Serves approx 8)

Ingredients:

1 large white onion, diced
1 celery stick, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g beets- peeled and julienned (or grated in a food processor)
2 medium carrots,  diced
1 medium parsnip, diced
half a small swede, diced
1/2 sweetheart cabbage, shredded
2 bay leaves
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp tomato puree
2 litres vegetable stock
100g toasted cooked buckwheat (kasha) 
100g cooked Puy lentils (optional- cooked in advance)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Method:
First, cook the Puy lentils or whatever lentils you wish to use according to packet instruction, if using as they will take longer than the toasted buckwheat which should only take 4-5 minutes to cook. Set aside.
Fry the onion carrot and celery for a few minutes on a medium heat until they all start to soften and the onion and celery become translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes until fragrant, followed by the caraway seeds, bay leaves, mustard and tomato puree. Season well.
Add the swede and parsnip and cook until they all begin to soften, then add the brown sugar, julienned beetroot, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and vegetable stock.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Then stir in the shredded cabbage and cook for a further 5 minutes before stirring in the cooked kasha and lentils. Adjust seasoning to your taste and add more lemon juice and vinegar if required. 
You can cook the kasha and make the sour cream while the vegetables are all simmering.
Fry the shredded Brussel sprouts and garlic with the olive oil for the garnish.
Garnish:
250g shredded Brussel sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
Fresh parsley ( I also used dried dill as we couldn't get fresh dill)
Cashew Sour Cream 
Cashew sour cream recipe:
225g cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours or for 1 hour in boiled water)
180ml water
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Method:
Blend the cashews with the water until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.