It’s beginning to feel like fall over here, despite the fact that it’s still technically summer. The weather here in London definitely hasn’t received that memo 😉 The chill in the air has got me craving soups, casseroles, and all things cozy. But, as it’s still summer, I thought I would compromise with this summer borscht!
My grandma used to make two kinds of borscht, summer and winter. And my favorite was always summer, hands down. I loved the fresh dill flavor, slight tang from the sour cream, and the salty ham. And not only does this meal taste good, but it looks kind of fun too! Depending on how much beetroot you add, or how bright their colour, it can turn out almost pepto-bismol pink!
So with our allotment beets and potatoes ready for harvest, I set about making this soup. Now, I normally only make borscht after I’ve had a ham roast, as it provides me with the bone for stock, and meat for the soup – but not this time. I’ve been having trouble finding a ham over here with the bone in, so I cooked a small ham, sans bone, and then got a friendly butcher to give me some bones for the stock. The bones didn’t provide as much flavor as I would have liked, and maybe you’re also struggling to find a ham with a bone? If that’s the case, just substitute some chicken or other neutral-ish stock.
So whether you’re feeling the last of the summer weather, or your craving something a bit warmer, try this soup! Personally, I think it’s a great meal no matter the time of year. So, forget “summer” borscht, let’s call this anytime-of-year-borscht.
- 2.5 litres ham stock*
- 250g ham, shredded into small pieces
- 750g potatoes, cubed
- 150g beets, grated
- 150g onion, diced
- 100g spinach, chopped
- 3-5g fresh dill, chopped
- 250ml sour cream
- 125ml single cream/half + half
- 15ml lemon juice
- dash of liquid smoke
- If using, make ham stock by covering bone with water, and boiling for 1 hour. Skim foam off top.
- Add vegetables, herbs, and lemon juice to stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
- In separate bowl, mix together creams, and thin with a little of the stock. Whisk together and add all to soup.
- Add a few dashes of liquid smoke, and the ham pieces. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed (the ham may add some saltiness.)
*make by covering ham bone with water, and boiling for one hour, skimming foam off top - can be substituted with chicken or vegetable stock