Carrot Borscht

There are many versions of borscht from Russia and Ukraine but I’ve never seen one made with carrot instead of beetroot. Both are dense, sweet root vegetables that puree beautifully and suit acidic and spicy seasoning. Carrot borscht looks stunning, the colour and flavour deepened and balanced by red pepper, lemon, caraway and chilli. Good with garlic bread to dip and slurp and a shot of vodka on the side.

Serves 4
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 25 min

1 onion, 175g
1 large garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
generous pinch crushed chillies
¼ (quarter) tsp caraway seed
4 large carrots, approx 400g
1 red pepper
1 lemon
1 ½ (half) vegetable or chicken stock cubes
150ml sour cream
small bunch chives, dill or parsley

Halve, peel and chop the onion. Crack the garlic with your fist, flake away the skin and chop. Heat the oil in a spacious, heavy bottomed, lidded pan, stir in the onion and garlic with a pinch salt. Cook, stirring often while you lightly crush the chilli with caraway seed. Peel and dice the carrot. Quarter the pepper, discard seeds and membrane and chop. Stir chilli and caraway into the softening onion, then add red pepper and carrot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes then add the stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre boiling water. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes until the carrot is soft. Blitz in batches then pass through a sieve into a clean pan, being sure to scrape underneath too. Reheat then season to taste with salt and lemon, stirring constantly. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream and finely sliced chives.