Recipe of borsch

This classic Russian soup is thickly textured and satisfying.

▶ 2 large beetroot
▶ 1 onion
▶ 1 carrot
▶ 1 celery stick
▶ 45 g  butter or goose fat
▶ 400 g can chopped tomatoes
▶ 1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
▶ 1.7 litres (3 pints) vegetable stock
▶ 2 bay leaves
▶ 4 cloves
▶ 2 tbsp lemon juice
▶ salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Roughly grate the beetroot, onion, carrot, and celery stick.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until just softened.

3. Add the tomatoes and crushed garlic, if using, and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently, then stir in the stock.

4. Tie the bay leaves and cloves in a small piece of muslin and add to the pan. Bring the soup to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes.

5. Discard the muslin bag. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, and serve.

GOOD WITH A garnish of soured cream or grated carrot, and chunks of dark rye bread.
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