Spring Green Borscht
Borsht is a traditional soup for Eastern Europe, but you can find it in many other countries. There are a lot of different kinds of borsht but it’s not “borscht” unless it contains beetroot, hence the beetroot leaves and stalks here! You can use chicken or vegetable stock, but the rich duck stock complements the sorrel best.
This recipe was taken from : Olia Hercules
For the stock:
1 duck, jointed
1 onion, peeled but left whole
1 bay leaf
For the broth :
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
100g beetroot leaves and stalks, chopped
100g sorrel, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
2 duck eggs (or chicken eggs), hard-boiled and chopped
½ bunch dill, chopped
½ bunch parsley, chopped
Sour cream to serve
1 Place the duck, giblets (apart from the liver) onion and bay leaf into a pot of cold water. Add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and skim the surface, discarding all the froth. Simmer on the lowest heat possible for 2 hours or until the duck meat falls off the bone. The liquid will reduce by almost half.
2 Strain the broth into a bowl, reserve the duck meat and pour the broth back into the pot. Check the seasoning – add salt and pepper to taste.
3 Pull the duck meat, discard the bones and set aside.
4 Skim half a ladleful of duck broth from the very top (you are aiming to skim the fat here) and pour it into a frying pan. Boil off the liquid for a minute or two until you are left with just duck fat. Add the onions and the carrot to the duck fat and saute over a medium heat, stirring all the time until the onion and carrot are soft and caramelised ever so slightly – they will provide beautiful sweetness. Add them to your broth.
5 Next add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beetroot leaves and stalks and cook for 5 minutes and switch the heat off.
6 Place some duck meat into each serving bowl. Then add the raw, chopped sorrel and spring onion on top and pour the hot stock over them. Garnish with chopped egg, dill and parsley. Serve with a spoonful of good-quality sour cream and garlicky pampushki/small pastry balls/. Pampushki
These are traditionally served with red borscht. iIf you can’t find the wild garlic don’t worry – use regular or young garlic. Remember, you need to leave the dough overnight to prove. The word pampushka can be used to describe a gorgeous plump woman. Makes 8
15g fresh yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
400g strong bread flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil
20g wild garlic, finely sliced, flowers left whole
1 egg (preferably duck), lightly beaten, to glaze
1 First make a “sponge”, which is a type of yeasty starter. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 100ml of warm water (blood temperature, as hot water would kill the yeast!).
2 Add 200g of flour and mix roughly, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in the fridge overnight.
3 The next morning add the rest of the flour and the salt to the starter and knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and comes away from your hands easily.
4 Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into round pampushki. Put them side by side in an oiled, round ovenproof dish or a cake tin, cover and let them prove again in a warm place until doubled in size.
5 Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Meanwhile, make the basting oil by simply stirring wild garlic through the sunflower oil with a small pinch of sea salt and letting it infuse.
8 When the pampushki look plump and ready, glaze them with some beaten egg (you can use chicken egg, but duck does produce an incredible crust) and bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are brown all over. Take them out and baste them in the wild garlic oil. Serve immediately.
Credits : Olia Hercules