RECIPE: Borscht style beetroot soup with croutons and soured cream [v]

A colourful and tasty soup that uses up lonely fridge vegetables

Makes four large bowls with plenty leftover
Two small / one large
Potato Two small / one large
Onion One small / half large
Garlic Two cloves
Carrot / courgette / parsnip No more than one of each
A small bouquet garni of bay leaf, parsley and thyme (Or just some parsley, bay leaf and a pinch or mixed herbs or herb de provence)
Salt & pepper to taste
Garlic salt a pinch
Ground nutmeg A small pinch
Olive oil One glug and more for croutons
Butter One knob
Soured cream One small dollop per bowl
Stale bread Equivalent of one slice per person, sourdough works nicely
Chopped chives / spring onion / dill to garnish
Lemon / lime One

In a casserole dish or large saucepan heat a small glug of olive oil and add salt and pepper and bouquet garni.

Over a medium heat brown the peeled and halved garlic cloves, chopped onion and diced potato (and diced parsnip and/or carrot if using) for about 10 minutes.

Add peeled and diced beetroot and courgette (if using) and stir to coat in oil while you boil a kettle of water.

Add about three cups of hot water and simmer uncovered for half an hour or until the beetroot is soft.

Remove the bouquet garni if using.

With a sieve remove the solid vegetables from the cooking stock (leaving the stock in the dish) and allow to cool slightly.

Blend the veg chunks in batches with some stock to help the blender.

Once all veg is blended return to the pan with the cooking stock and add a knob of butter and heat until just starting to bubble.

Turn off heat, adjust salt and pepper levels, add a pinch of nutmeg and mix well.

To make the croutons, chop stale bread into rough chunks and fry with a good pinch of garlic salt and a good glug of olive oil on a low heat until golden.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, adding a handful of croutons and a small dollop of soured cream and a if you like also a wedge of lemon on the side. Sprinkle some chopped chives, spring onion or dill and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and you’re done