A delightful old recipe

I wrote yesterday about October really being the start of the hearty soup season, and I went on to share some information I found on a Ukrainian site about borscht… it’s something I love, but it does vary, as the article explained.  I cook a lot of Ukrainian food, but the recipe I use to make beetroot soup is actually Iraqi!

Here is something I wrote five years ago about it:

I love beetroots, and love the idea of borscht, that eastern European speciality; however, I have never liked the beetroot soup I made, it always seems earthy and with an off-putting metallic taste. However I found a recipe which suggests peeling the beetroot before you cook them… conventionally you wash them only, boil them in their skins and then peel them when they are cooked.
I peeled my raw beetroot, it looked as if murder had been committed, red everywhere! I boiled them and used the red cooking  liquor for the soup. I made the soup in the ordinary way, with onions and herbs and spices and seasoning , rubbed it through a sieve, added a little vegetable stock, thickened with cornflour, garnished with coriander and mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

This recipe is very old and comes from a city which has been in the news recently because of the dreadful suffering inflicted on its people – Mosul, formerly Nineveh. It can be served chilled as a summer soup, or heated as the weather becomes more inclement.

This is the most simple of soups ( I added a dollop of sour cream)mix all the ingredients

Turshi Njanie

Fresh beetroot boiled at home are delicious. Their sweet taste is lovely on its own and hardly needs any kind of dressing. In Iraq, beetroot are always before boiling to ensure that no earth is left in the water, which with a few simple ingredients can produce a beautifully refreshing soup.

  • 1 pint beetroot cooking water
  • 3 cooked beetroot finely cut into small pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic (according to taste) finely chopped, minced or mashed ( I prefer them ground to a paste with salt so you don’t get any unexpected lumps!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  1. mix all of the ingredients together, making sure the sugar dissolves (even the parley which will turn purple too but will impart a good flavour)
  2. check for flavour adding more sugar and lemon juice if necessary (and salt if you like it a bit more savoury)
  3. leave for ½ an hour before serving so all the flavours mingle


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