Super Powers Soup
Also known as Barszcz or Borscht, this earthy beetroot broth infused with dill and garlic does something magical. Its mad colours even make it look like a potion, and it is a recipe I hold very dear for a number of reasons. Growing up in an Eastern European family we were raised on stories of carved wooden huts in great forests, heroes and heroines running from the threat of wolves and bears. This soup has all of that so to me, is something very, very special. It is also simple, cheap to make and remarkably good for you, both body and mind. This soup may be a fairy tale in a bowl to me, but to anyone it is a vibrant, flavourful soup that will become your go to recipe. Warning: Comes risk of stains.
Two bunches of fresh beetroot
Four cloves of garlic
One and a half chicken stock cubes (veg will do, but chicken works better)
Approx. two litres of water
Three generous sprigs of dill (plus extra for on top)
Ground black pepper
One teaspoon vinegar
A dollop of creme fraiche/sour cream for each bowl
Peel and slice the beetroot into rounds and place in a large stock pot. peel and add the garlic cloves whole, no need to slice them, they will soften and release their goodness into the soup during cooking. Add the dill to the pot and crumble over the stock cube. Pour in cold water, enough to cover all the beetroot plus an inch and a half. Crush the black pepper and add to the mix. Bring the mixture to the boil and once bubbling turn down to a simmer and leave for 45-60 minutes. Make sure not to put a lid on the pot, if you do it won’t reduce and make taste like, well, nothing. I have made this mistake before. Once done, add the vinegar (balsamic or red wine) as this keeps the soup a rich purple colour. Serve hot and dollop a healthy mound of sour cream or creme fraiche on top and sprinkle with fresh dill. It goes well alongside smoked salmon, mushroom and cabbage pierogi, or a good dark bread with butter. Sublime! I hope it brings you as much enjoyment and comfort as it does me.