Stew and soup recipes are one of the best things about winter – warming, comforting and nutritious. Ring the changes and avoid predictability by looking internationally for inspiration.
Classic Eastern European soup recipes: Borscht
This is one of the best known hearty soup recipes, usually based around beetroot, potato and cabbage. Variations are made with spinach or tomato and all these soup recipes can be eaten hot or cold with sour cream or yoghurt. Many Central and Eastern European countries have developed their own national versions of the traditional recipe, but the version given below makes a good starting point. Leave out the sausage for vegetarians.
To serve 10:
- 450g pork sausage, cut into cubes
- 3 beetroots, peeled and grated
- 3 carrots, peeled and grated
- 3 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 150g tomato puree
- 180ml water
- ½ green cabbage, cored and shredded
- Half a 400g tin chopped tomatoes, drained of juice
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 125ml soured cream
- Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
Fry the cubes of sausage until cooked then set aside. Add about two litres of water to a large pan and bring to the boil, add the sausages and then the beetroot, cooking until the beetroot has lost its colour. Stir in the potatoes and carrots and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the cabbage and tomatoes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry the onion in the oil until soft and translucent. Add the tomato puree and water and combine together well. Add to the vegetable pot along with the garlic, then remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered, for 5-10 minutes. Season according to taste.
Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of parsley.
Exotic soup recipes
The Caribbean has a rich repertoire of soup and stew recipes, full of exotic spices. Callaloo originates from ingredients brought East from Africa.
To serve 6:
- 450g callaloo/spinach leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1½ litres chicken stock
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 225g salt beef, without fat and diced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 shallots, minced
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- 1 green chilli, cut in half lengthways
- 100g okra
- 225g crab meat
Add the callaloo leaves, chicken stock, onion, beef, pepper, shallots, thyme and crab to a large pan. Simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes or until the beef is tender. Add the okra and cook for a further eight minutes. Remove the chilli halves and run the soup through a blender until smooth. Season to taste.