RUSSIAN BEETROOT SOUP
2 February 2009
RUSSIAN BEETROOT SOUP – From Russia with love:
Not from James Bond, but from Katya – my gorgeous Russian friend, who definately passes for a Bond girl, but who prefers to spend her spare time in the kitchen rather than being a damsel in distress!
When I asked her about Russian cuisine, she said that ” it is traditionally based on peasant foods because of the extreme climate, and that it is very common for Russian recipes to include simple ingredients such as eggs, flour, milk, sour cream, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and beetroot.”
When I think of Russian beetroot soup the 1st thing that comes to mind is borscht – made with cubes of beetroot, a variety of other vegetables & served with sour cream.
The current recipe is a hand me down from Katya’s friend, a Russian chef, who gave it to her, she then passed it on to me & I am now sharing my version with you 🙂 It is a delicious modern take on the traditional Russian beetroot soup. There are no potatoes or cabbage and the sour cream has been replaced by goats cheese.
The taste is surprising complex – as the ingredients work so well together that you cannot immediately distinguish one from the other. Only after a few minutes does each flavour take on its own persona. The goats cheese* is a nice contrast in colour, taste & texture to the soup, which is warming, rich & smooth, just perfect for the winter months.
I did a little improvising when reading through the recipe & decided to make it with only 1L of stock & not 2, giving it a slightly heartier consistency. I also reduced the cream to a fraction – for digestion reasons and put only a 1/4 of the garlic into the goats cheese and dried basil instead of parsley (which I didn’t have on hand) . In the future I will toast the pine-nuts as it brings out their flavour.
*NOTE: If you have a food allergy or do not like goat cheese, I would suggest using cream cheese, crème fresh or greek yogurt. Any one of the three will work. If you are sensitive to raw garlic, you can always omit this or use just a little sprinkle of dried garlic fakes.
RECIPE – SWEET PEA Blog
- 1 extra large raw beetroot without stalk (400 gr)
- 1 large carrot (100 gr)
- 1 medium white onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoon tomato purée
- 1/4 cup light cream
- 1L vegetable stock
Goats cheese cream
- 100 gr fresh goats cheese / fromage de chèvre
- 1/4 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- Pine nuts for decoration
- Peel & chop the beetroot & carrot into small cubes, set aside.
- Peel & chop the onion. Heat the oil & sweat the onions for a few minutes.
- Add the chopped beetroot & carrots. Stir & cook on medium/low heat until slightly soft.
- Add the tomato purée & then the stock. Stir, then cover. Cook until vegetable become soft (10 minutes)
- While waiting, in a small bowl mix the goats cheese, crushed garlic, dried basil & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Toast the pine nuts till slightly golden.
- Separate the stock & cooked vegetable. Using a blender mix the vegetable while gradually adding the stock.
- Finally add the cream to the mixed soup.
- Serve warm, with a teaspoonful of goats cheese cream & sprinkled with toasted pine-nuts.