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, the 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 color is, it can turn out almost pepto-bismol pink!
So with our allotment of 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 you 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*
- 250 g ham shredded into small pieces
- 750 g potatoes cubed
- 150 g beets grated
- 150 g onion diced
- 100 g spinach chopped
- 3-5 g fresh dill chopped
- 250 ml sour cream
- 125 ml single cream/half + half
- 15 ml 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.)