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Borscht

ingredients

serves four
1 1/2 lb (700 g) beetroot (beet), ready-cooked
1 large onion
4 cups (32 fl oz) 900 ml beef stock or water
1 small green cabbage
2 tablespoons oil, or beef dripping (fat from roasted meat) if the soup is to be served hot
Pinch sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream
Chopped chives

method

Peel the cooked beetroot and the onion, and grate them finely. You can do this either in a machine or by hand.

Fry the onion and beetroot in either the oil or the dripping. Do not use dripping if you are going to eat this cold; the fat solidifies and is not to be recommended!

When the vegetables have softened, add the stock or water. Season generously, bring to the boil and simmer for about 35-40 minutes until everything is so soft it is almost a puree.

You can, at this point, add the very finely shredded green cabbage, which gives a lovely variety of texture. Some recipes omit the cabbage altogether, though I think it makes this soup really special.

Add the pinch of sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.

To serve it hot, pour into individual bowls with a big dollop of sour cream and chopped chives in the middle.

To serve it cold, let cool, pour into a food processor and give it a quick whizz.

Put it into a bowl and chill in the fridge. Place a couple of ice-cubes into each serving bow), pour in the chilled borscht, then add the dollop of sour cream and chives.

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