This was my take on the famous Central/Eastern European soup, borsht. It’s a thick, filling, delicious beef and veg red-coloured soup that is quite low in calories, fat and quite healthy, if you make an attempt not to use too much oil. It’s usually served with soured cream (or creme fraiche).
The cooking time is approximately 3 hours (1 hour 15 mins active preparation time) and is quite impressive to serve. Yum. (Calorie count is at the bottom of the page, together with some key tips).
Beef, 800 gr.
Carrots, 190 gr (two medium sized ones)
Cabbage, 230 gr (1/3 of the whole cabbage head)
Beetroot, 400 gr (2 heads)
Onions, 300 gr (2 medium sized ones)
Potatoes, 500 gr (4 medium sized ones)
2 table spoons sunflower oil
4 garlic cloves
salt, black pepper, 4 bay leaves, 1 table spoon of cider vinegar, 1 table spoon of tomato paste, coriander (fresh or frozen)
The recipe. Essentially, there are 3 major steps in the borsht cooking: boiling the meat, prepping all the vegetables and adding vegetables to the soup). You can chop the veg, sauté them and add straight to the soup, so do all the things simultaneously, but that’s just too much effort. So I separated prepping the veg and did that while the meat was boiling and it was too early to add them to the soup.
Step 1. Boiling the meat.
1. Cut the beef into cubes. Place it in a big saucepan and add about 4.5 pints of water. Bring to the boil. Leave boiling for 1 hour 30 mins (more or less, depends on the meat quality, some meat needs a lot longer to become tender). Remove the “foam”.
Step 2. Prepping the vegetables.
1. Grate the carrots. Put aside.
2. Slice the cabbage.
3. Chop the beetroot. Use gloves or it will stain your hands horribly!
4. Chop the onions.
5. Cut the potatoes into cubes.
Here’s what i had at the end of prepping the veg. Then have some rest – the meat’s cooking time of 1.5 hours hasn’t probably passed yet. (Note – clean the kitchen ;))
Step 3. Sauté the veg and add it to the soup. (In some recipes you would add beetroot nearly at the end, but i tried to add it at the start – and it’s much nicer. I think.)
1. Sauté (briefly fry) the beetroot in a bit of sunflower oil. Then add 1 table spoon of vinegar and about 2 table spoons of tomato paste and braise for 5 – 7 minutes. Then add to the soup.
2. Sauté the onions (it’s a bit red from the remains of the beetroot on the frying pan here). Then add carrots and sauté both some more. Put aside (we will add it to the soup at the very end).
3. Add potatoes to the soup. When it starts boiling again, go to the next step.
4. Once the soup is boiling again, add the cabbage. Wait 10 – 15 minutes and go to the next step.
5. Add onion-carrots mix to the soup. Keep it boiling until the potatoes are tender, but not too tender.
6. Add bay leaves and black pepper. then crush the garlic, stir and switch the cooker off. Add the coriander and let borsht rest for about 15 minutes. Then add some soured cream (or not, as in my case).
Beef: 8×125 = 1000 kcal
Carrots: 1.9×28 = 53.2 kcal
Cabbage: 2.3×27 = 62.1 kcal
Beetroot: 4×37 = 148 kcal
Onions: 3×31 = 93 kcal
Potatoes: 5×75 = 375 kcal
Sunflower oil: 2×124 = 248
Total weight: 4342 gr / Total calories: 1979.3
(4 pints of water weight about 1892 gr)
46 kcal/100 gr 🙂
Some notes: use gloves for beetroot handling; if the amount of water lessens at any time – add more, but only add boiling water so that no more foam forms.
And for the interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borscht