Ready Steady Cooks Viral Antidote 6: Red soup

Marion bowled me a curveball this morning and it made me think.

Her three ingredients were Raw beetroot, red cabbage and baked beans and my first thought was eek!

From the mists of time rose the memory of sitting in a university canteen in Moscow with Lynne and Liz, Malcolm and others eating borscht with a fish head floating in it and hating it, yet on the other hand being amazed and delighted by the beautiful soft warm rolls with minced spiced meat in the middle – Piroshki.  So here’s a Brucie’s Bonus.  Soup and rolls recipe.

First the soup

1 small red cabbage, sliced thinly and removing the core and thicker hard stems; 1 chopped onion, 600g or so (doesn’t need to be precise) peeled raw beetroot chopped into dice.  You could also add a chopped apple if you wish. Two diced cloves of garlic and a thumb sized piece of ginger (I keep mine in the freezer and grate on the microplane grater).  One teaspoon ground coriander and half a teaspoon of ground cumin, some chopped dill if you have it, 75ml olive oil. 25g butter. One large tin baked beans.

In a heavy pan, sweat all the vegetables in the oil and butter, then add the apple if you are using it, garlic, spices and ginger.  Give it all a good stir.  Add some salt and a little water. Clamp on the lid (I might patent that phrase, I use it so often) and let it burble away for 10 minutes or so.  Then add a litre of stock – vegetable or chicken and a big splurge of tomato puree if you have it and a dessert spoon of dark sherry – or some vodka if you prefer.  Stir and simmer for a good 25-20 minutes then blend half the soup and return to the pan.  Meanwhile, take the tin of baked beans and empty them into a sieve. Wash the sauce off with water from the kettle. Baked beans are only haricot beans in sauce, after all!  Check the seasoning in the soup – more salt, black pepper needed? Add the beans and heat gently.  Don’t boil again.  To serve, add a dollop of thick yogurt  on each serving plus some more chopped dill or even a little chopped lovage if you have it.

For the rolls

Half a cup of warm water mixed with half a cup of plain yogurt.  1 teaspoon dried yeast for hand baking (not for bread maker).  1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar. 1.5 teaspoons of cumin seed. 150g plain flour.  Add the liquid to all the dry ingredients and knead till smooth. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave for a couple of hours till it doubles in size.

For the filling

Turn the oven on and put an empty baking tray in the oven at 200C.  Finely chop an onion, a clove of garlic and sweat gently in a little oil until soft.  When the baking tray is hot and the oven up to temperature, spread out 400g minced beef or beef and pork onto the tray, add the cumin seed and season with salt and pepper.  Roast this in the oven for 15 minutes until it goes brown.  This is a great Tom Kerridge method of browning mince without frying it.  Drain off the fat from the meat then add it to the onion with some chopped dill, chopped green onion tops, a dessert spoon of Marmite or vegemite and a tablespoon of coarse semolina if you have it. Check the seasoning – you will need it very well seasoned as the bread dough will dampen it down. Cook it down in the pan then leave to cool. When cool, put it in a bowl and mix in an egg yolk.

Returning to the dough, knock the dough down in the bowl and turn onto the work surface. Knead it a little then form into as many balls about the size of a golf ball as you can make from the amount of dough you have.  Flatten each one slightly then add a teaspoon of the cold meat in the middle.  If you do this in the palm of your hand, you can then cup your fingers round it to draw the edges in and pinch them all together.  Try to ensure that there are no air pockets left in the middle. Then roll the dough in your hands to form a ball, or elongate it slightly to a boat shape. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, about 9 to a standard sized tray.  Then leave to prove in a warm place for half an hour.

Put in the oven at 200C and bake for no more than 15 minutes.  You can also fry them in deep oil.

Gorgeous.  These freeze really well too.

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