Inspired by Alex from the Golden Valley farm in Tasmania, this simple and delicious soup from Eastern Europe boasts the best of his seasonal vegetables. Grating the vegies instead of using much heartier cubes of beetroot and potato, synonymous with borscht, makes this stew lighter, and the perfect dish for late summer and autumn – an excellent time to be including some more warming foods into the diet.
- 1 cup Puy lentils
- 1 leek, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ bunch parsley, leaves roughly chopped (reserve the stems)
- 1 tsp organic powdered vegetable stock
- 3 beetroots, washed, trimmed and finely grated; leaves sliced into ribbons
- 3 radishes, finely grated
- Greek yoghurt or sour cream, to serve
- black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soak lentils in plenty of water for an hour.
Make a simple and tasty broth by frying the leeks and crushed garlic in some olive oil in a heavy-based pot over low heat, until the leeks begin to break down and become aromatic. Next add the finely chopped stalks of parsley and let soften for a minute or two. Add in the lentils and 2 cups of water with the powdered stock and bring to the boil.
Let the lentils simmer for about 20 minutes until they start to soften, keeping an eye on them in case you need to add more water.
When the lentils are almost ready, add the beets, beet leaves, most of the parsley leaves and the radish (save a little parsley and radish for a garnish). Give the borscht a good stir and leave to cook for another 10-15 minutes or until lentils have softened completely and your broth has turned a lovely deep red colour. Have a taste and season accordingly.
When ready to serve, ladle a lovely big serve into a wide bowl, place a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream in the centre then sprinkle with some extra radish and chopped parsley. Before you eat, be sure to grind some fresh black pepper over the top and drizzle with some good-quality extra virgin olive oil.
• Feel free to add some additional vegetables that you may have on hand. Some diced carrot and celery would go well with the leeks, and a bay leaf or two would add some extra flavour.
• If your beetroot came without leaves, use spinach or kale instead.
Recipe from the blog Harvest by Gina Oliver and Meaghan Tarrant. Photographs by Julian Dolman.