I cound hardly contain my excitement when I stumbled upon a young beetroot leaves only salad mix at Sydney Fish Market’s Wasterside Fruit Connection green grocer. I picked up a pack along with a bunch of young beetroot, and finally, my craving for a young beetroot soup could be satisfied.
The allure of crimson in the soup - a traditional spring offering across most of Eastern Europe, is matched by the intense flavour of beets and a playful sweet and sour taste. Perhaps because of its peasant origins, the recipe lets nothing go to waste. You get to use the lot: the root, the stems and the greens.
Thickened with a dollop of cream, the soup can be served 2 ways and the following recipe allows for you to try both. Firstly, it can be served more like a hearty winter stew, showcasing all the gorgeous vegetables and greens. The other option is to serve just the broth - a version much preferred during warmer months. Both go well with a side of hard boiled egg or young boiled potato sprinkled with dill.
Being a great fan of the beetroot and goat’s cheese combo, I like to crumble some goat’s cheese feta into either of the versions and in addition to the other toppings. Lastly, to lift the soup a little further I added a good splash of Pukara Estate’s guava vinegar. Yum!
Serves 4 (or 2 when serving as stew / broth combo)
Botwinka: whole young beetroot soup two ways
Thickened with a dollop of cream, the soup can be served 2 ways and the following recipe allows for you to try both. Firstly, it can be served more like a hearty winter stew, showcasing all the gorgeous vegetables and greens. The other option is to serve just the broth - a version much preferred during warmer months.
For the soup:
- a bunch of baby beetroot with stems attached (approx 6 beets)
- 150g baby beetroot leaves
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 parsnip
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice // or 1/8 cup lemon juice + 1/8 cup Pukara Estate guava vinegar
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sour cream
For the toppings:
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 4 medium sized boiled potatoes, cruched and sprinkled with dill
- 4 tbsp crumbled goat’s cheese feta
To make the soup: wash beetroots, stems and leaves thoroughly. Cut off the stems and chop, including leaves, into 1 cm pieces. Peel beetroots, carrots and parsnip (use plastic gloves to protect skin from staining) and dice all into 1cm cubes. Cut celery sticks lengthways and chop into small cubes.
Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add peeled beetroot (but not the stems or leaves yet), carrots, parsnip and celery and allow to heat through. Add stock and water, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. At this stage, add beetroot stems, leaves and baby beetroot leaves. Season with lemon juice or vinegar mic, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes then turn off the heat.
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the broth with the sour cream until smooth and add to the pot, stir through to combine.
To serve the soup “stew-style”: ladle vegetables into a bowl and add enough broth to come up halfway up the veg. Serve with a side of boiled eggs, potatoes with dill and crumbed goat’s feta.
To serve the soup “broth-style”: strain soup through a sieve into a bowl. Serve with a side of boiled eggs, potatoes with dill and crumbed goat’s feta.