Beets (or beetroot as they refer to it) are a popular vegetable here in Australia and I've been eating more and more of them. You rarely see a burger without a few slices of beet tucked into the bun which is a real favorite of mine now that I've had it a few times. I grew up not liking beets for no particular reason besides the fact that they were a bit odd-looking and tasted a little like dirt. Now though, that earthiness is appealing and they seem to be good just about every way that I have them.
That deep, purple-red hue is astonishing and I love the way that this soup looks. The sweet leeks play off the beets natural sweetness and the chewy barley adds some nice heft. The astringency of the lemon juice and the freshness of the dill is a needed garnish - I don't think the soup is quite as good without them.
I haven't had borscht in years but this soup is definitely a simpler, lighter cousin of the original. With just 6 ingredients and a little simmering this very pretty soup was being slurped up alongside the Guinness Rosemary Bread I recently made.
For 4-6 Servings:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 3 beets, peeled and cubed
- 1½ cups cooked barley
- 4 cups stock
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more stock or water to thin the soup if desired. Ladle into bowls and top with some lemon juice and dill.