Borscht on the rocks

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - EVE­LYN ROSE’S

On a hot sum­mer’s day, a chilled soup is the per­fect starter for a sup­per party. What­ever the main in­gre­di­ents, it is essential to pre­pare it one day in ad­vance so that the flavours have a chance to blend and the vegetable purée to thicken slightly. Hot borscht is a great win­ter soup, but I think it takes on the finest flavour when it is well chilled. The egg thick­en­ing gives it added rich­ness, and the soured cream turns it a beau­ti­ful pale pink.

You can serve it in a wine glass or a small soup bowl. Be­cause of the glo­ri­ous colours I like to co-or­di­nate the colour of the flower ar­range­ment with the soup so they are both part of the ta­ble dec­o­ra­tion.

Serves 6-8.

Cooked beet juice keeps 4 days in the re­frig­er­a­tor, the com­plete soup for 2 days. Freeze 3 months.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS:

3 bunches of young beets (or 900 g/2 lb old beets); 1 medium onion;

1 medium car­rot;

1.5 litres (21/4 pints) hot wa­ter plus 3 vegetable stock cubes;

1 teasp sea salt; 15 grinds black pep­per;

2 tbsp sugar or gran­u­lar sweet­ener.

To thicken the soup: 3 tbsp lemon juice; 3 whole eggs; 150 ml (5 fl oz) soured cream, Greek yo­ghurt or 8% fro­mage frais; ice cubes.

METHOD:

Have ready a large soup pan. Trim the beets, wash thor­oughly and peel only if they are old. Peel the onion and the car­rot. Cut all the veg­eta­bles into roughly 2.5 cm (1 inch) chunks, then chop in the food pro­ces­sor in two batches un­til very finely chopped.

Put the veg­eta­bles in the pan, with the wa­ter, stock cubes, pep­per, salt and sugar or sweet­ener. Bring to the boil, cover and sim­mer for 20 min­utes, un­til the veg­eta­bles are soft and the liq­uid is a rich, dark red.

Pour the con­tents through a coarse strainer into a bowl and dis­card the veg­eta­bles. Re­turn the strained beet juice to the pan and leave on a low heat.

Put the lemon juice and the whole eggs into the food pro­ces­sor and process for 5 sec­onds un­til well mixed. With the mo­tor run­ning, pour two la­dles of the hot beet juice through the feed tube and process for a fur­ther three sec­onds, then add the mix­ture to the beet juice in the pan and heat gen­tly, whisk­ing con­stantly with a bat­ter whisk or bal­loon whisk un­til the soup is steam­ing and has thick­ened slightly. Do not let it boil or it will cur­dle. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing so that there is a gen­tle blend of sweet and sour.

Chill thor­oughly. Just be­fore serv­ing, whisk in the soured cream, yo­ghurt or fro­mage frais.

Fill large wine­glasses onethird full with ice cubes and fill up with the chilled borscht.

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