I hope you enjoyed the starter and that it was a useful saviour for your first Christmas Party of the season. First of all, I would also like to say a big thank you to Carol Morley from the Kabinshop.com, who kindly provided the wonderfully handmade white dishes for this recipe, aren’t they just gorgeous?
The lead part in my X-Mas main course is played by a group of earthy beetroots. I already wrote a small essay about this fabulous dark red underground tuber in my beetroot soup post, so today I thought I’d share information from a new research study published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, in which researchers found that beetroot juice may have a positive impact on blood flow and blood pressure, it also possibly is associated with better athletic performance and improved fitness, so a good one to include for those in training (1).
Borscht Bourgignon combined with iron rich lentils is a super delicious winter dish , you can cook it in advance , so one more dish to save yourself time spent in the kitchen during the Christmas party season. To make this dish even more delicious and nutritious I added soothing ghee, vitamin A rich sweet potato, yellow beets and magnesium rich samphire, I cannot get enough those funny looking salty greens these days.
Borscht Bourgignon – Serves 4
4 tbsp of ghee or extra virgin olive
7 small beetroots – peeled and cut into quarters
1 small golden beetroot
1/2 medium sized sweet potato – peeled and cut into cubes (similar size as carrot slices)
4 medium sized carrots – peeled and sliced
8 crimini mushrooms – sliced
1 tbsp dired porcini mushrooms ( soaked in boiling water)
1 400g package of dark green lentils ( pre -soaked for 1hour)
4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
6 shallots roughly chopped
2 tbsp of tomato puree
6 twigs of fresh thyme
1 twig of rosemary (optional)
6 small bay leaves
1 500ml vegetable stock
1 250ml red wine
1 tsp tamari soy sauce
1 sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pack of samphire to garnish (optional)
For the borscht heat up 2 tbsp of ghee in a big pot, once melted stir in 3/4 chopped garlic and 3/4 of the chopped onions and sauté at medium heat for 3 minutes, keep stirring as to not burn them.
Next add beetroot, carrots (keep a few slices aside) and sweet potato chunks, 3 twigs of thyme and 3 small bay leaves, stir now and then and cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes, before adding stock, red wine and 2 tbsp tomato puree .Simmer for 25 minutes at low heat.
The lentils are next: rinse the soaked lentils before placing them in a sauce pan, cover well with boiling water, add 2 bay leaves, some roughly chopped shallots and a few slices of carrot. Simmer as per instructions on the package. Pre-soaked lentils will cook faster, so check if they are done a bit earlier than it says on the package. Once cooked, season with a little sea salt and carefully stir before draining off the remaining cooking water, next add a touch of ghee or olive oil and give another careful stir. Cover the pot with a lid or plate and set aside.
Whilst the lentils and borscht are cooking away, heat up the rest of the ghee in a frying pan, add the remaining garlic & onion, sauté until soft and add 2 twigs of thyme,1 twig of rosemary (optional), sliced mushrooms and drained porcinis. Keep stirring until they are soft, season with a little bit pepper to taste towards the end. For some extra flavour add a couple of table spoons of the porcini soaking water. Next add the mushroom mix to the borscht and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper towards the end.
Samphire garnish: simply rinse samphire under running cold water, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water- leave to sit for about 3-4 minutes, drain well and place back the bowl, adding a couple of tbsp of extra virgin olive oil or ghee, toss around a few times and set aside. Do not add any salt as Samphire is naturally very salty.
Serve the borscht with lentils and garnish with samphire.