Borsch with crunchy mash

Guaranteed to beat off the winter blues, this hearty beetroot soup is served with creamy mashed potatoes enlivened with crunchy raw vegetables. There are as many types of borsch as there are cooks in Eastern Europe – this puréed version retains every gram of goodness.

Borsch with crunchy mash


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 500 g raw beetroot
  • 1 litre vegetable stock, preferably homemade light or rich
  • 750 g floury potatoes (e.g., russet), cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup (125 ml) low–fat milk
  • ⅓ cup (90 g) Greek–style yogurt
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped leaves from the fennel bulb, herb fennel or parsley to garnish


  1. Place the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion.
  2. Set aside 55 g of the carrot for the mash, then chop the rest and add it to the pan.
  3. Mix well, cover with a lid and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes to soften the onion.
  4. Place the lemon juice in a small bowl.
  5. Cut the bulb of fennel into quarters.
  6. Finely grate one quarter into the lemon juice and toss well.
  7. Finely grate the reserved carrot and add it to the grated fennel.
  8. Cover and set aside.
  9. Chop the remaining fennel and add to the saucepan.
  10. Peel and dice the beetroot, and add it to the pan.
  11. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
  12. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
  13. Meanwhile, bring another saucepan of water to the boil.
  14. Add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until tender.
  15. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan.
  16. Place over a low heat for about 1 minute to dry, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the potatoes from sticking.
  17. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered to keep hot.
  18. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, or purée in the pan using a hand blender.
  19. Return the soup to the pan, if necessary, and reheat.
  20. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  21. While the soup is reheating, set the pan of potatoes over a moderate heat and mash until completely smooth, gradually working in the milk.
  22. Stir in the yogurt, grated fennel and carrot, spring onions and seasoning to taste.
  23. Divide the mashed potato among 4 bowls, piling it up in the centre.
  24. Ladle the soup around the mash and sprinkle with chopped fennel or parsley.
  25. Serve at once.

Serves 4
Preparation: about 35 minutes
Cooking: about 50 minutes


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