Botwina is a Polish name for this fantastic soup. The main ingredient is chard – young leaves and roots from red beetroot. They are generally not available all year round, but at this time of year (July/August) they are in season and much easier to find. Your local veggie shop will probably have some or be able to source it for you.
This recipe makes a big pot of soup; it will feed 4 people for 2 days… yes, I know that is a lot of soup, but just wait till you try it, then it won’t be enough! This is a hearty soup by all accounts, for us it’s an evening meal. This is due in part to using a lot of meat to make it so it becomes like a 2 in 1 meal – soup and main dish in 1 course. It is very easy to make and oh my goodness it taste delicious.
300g of sliced chard
3 large beetroots cubed
500g of beef cut into big chunks
500g of smoked ribs left intact
1 large parsnip quartered
3 large carrots quartered
1 leek quartered
2tbsp of soft brown sugar
Fresh ground pepper
1. 1. Take a large heavy cooking based pot and place the sliced chard, beef chunks, ribs, parsnip, carrots and leek in it.
2. 2. Add 4 litres of water.
3. 3. Add salt, pepper corns and the bay leaf and start to cook.
4. 4. Start timing 45minutes as you turn the heat on, when boiling bring to a gentle simmer.
5. 5. After 45 minutes add the cubed beetroots and cook for a further 15 minutes.
6. 6. Add the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, season to taste and then the final ingredient – double cream. The amount of double cream is depending on the final taste you want to achieve, the more cream you add the more you will counteract the acidity of the lemon juice making for a more mellow soup. We only added two heap spoonfuls to our huge pot of soup.
7. 7. That’s all she wrote as they say, you are ready to serve. Enjoy!
Remember any soup not eaten straight away will need to be put in the fridge as we used double cream. The added bonus here is that the soup becomes even richer and more complex the next day.
As a final thought, as chard is seasonal, you can make large volumes of this soup and freeze it for an out of season delight. However if you do plan to freeze omit the lemon juice and cream and add them on the day you eat whilst heating your soup up.