Carrot and beetroot borscht
New year tends to mean two things - frugal living and healthy eating - and this recipe my eldest daughter Jo devised when she was a student ticks both boxes. Best, of course, with organic veg if you can get hold of them.
3 tbsp organic sunflower or organic rapeseed oil
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium carrots (about 175-200g), well scrubbed or peeled and grated
3 medium beetroot (about 300-350g), peeled
1 fresh tomato, skinned and roughly chopped (optional but good)
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
750ml vegetable stock mixed with about 1/2 tsp brown miso or, at a pinch, Marmite
a handful of beet greens, washed and shredded
salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar or vinegar to taste
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan or casserole and fry the bacon for a few minutes until the fat begins to run. Stir in the onion, turn the heat down, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes then add the remaining oil and the grated carrot, pop a lid on the pan and continue to cook over a low heat. Halve the beetroot, slice thinly then slice across into short batons. Tip the beetroot and tomato, if using, into the other vegetables, stir, add the thyme and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil then cook until the vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little sugar if you feel it needs it or a few drops of vinegar if you think it needs sharpening up. Add the shredded greens, cook for a couple more minutes and serve. Good with rye or sourdough bread or crispbread spread with a soft cheese like Quark or goats cheese
What to drink: Assuming you've given up booze for a few days I'd go for water or a dry-ish apple juice. Otherwise a nicely chilled pilsner would be perfect
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