Sunday, 13 May 2012

B is for Beetroot

...And Beef Bone Broth
We have a saying among the siblings in my family that 'beetroot is the new carrot'. Not that carrot isn't fantastic. Just that beetroot is equally if not more versatile. We also have a saying among our friends that if you try fresh beetroot rather than canned 'You'll never go back!'. As you can gather, I talk a lot about the virtues of this wonder vegetable.

I thought beetroot was Elijah's favourite food because every time he has tasted some he has loved it. Now i have confirmed it. There is no other food he has tried - including avocado, calamari, blueberries and hummus dip (all favourites of mine) that he loves as much as beetroot. He just can't get enough.
So this week we are in need of some nourishing and immune boosting, so what better way than to make a blood building soup inspired by the Polish Borscht (or Barszcz) which ELijah first tasted cooked by our friends.
Alas, good soup isn't good without real stock. I'm not usually one for meat cooking. I do eat meat, and love it when other people cook it for me. It's just that vegetarian dishes are so exciting to me, and I rarely feel as inspired by meat meals. I am new to the process of bone broth, and thought you might be too. Here's how you make meat bone broth according to Sally Fallon Nourishing Traditions to extract all the minerals from the bone and flesh - especially iron and calcium. It is such a perfect way to introduce natural iron into the diet of young children and babies rather than in iron fortified cereals (where iron doesn't belong). The broth also contains the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. I would have included a photo, but didn't want to discourage you from making it with an unsightly photo of bones boiling...

1. Buy meat bones, usually packaged together in the supermarket or by the butcher and sold cheaply. Even this step is daunting to me, be brave even if you don't know what the 'bones' are.
2. Cover the bones in mostly water and a little vinegar (or Kefir water if you have surplus like I do) and allow to soak for an hour or so.
3. Bring to the boil slowly - I used my slow cooker (crock pot)
4. Scoop off and discard the scum that rises to the top as the boiling starts
5. Allow to gently simmer (on low) for hours - I left it overnight. 
6. Drain the liquid off and remove the bones. 
7. Add sea salt to taste
8. Hey presto - bone broth! Available to use instead of any recipe requiring 'stock' which is usually full of preservatives, flavours and thickeners.

* You can also add in other vegetables to the boiling process. I added shitake mushrooms and kombu (sea vegetable) both for minerals and immune boosting. Other good options would be celery, carrot, onion and herbs like parsley and thyme.

Now to the feature.
Beetroot Soup

3-4 Large Beetroots
3 Litres beef bone broth
6 Garlic cloves chopped
2 Carrots - grated
Large handful of shredded Cabbage
1/2 Sweet Potato - chopped small
Large handful of green beans - chopped small
400g Cooked Red Kidney Beans (or tinned)
1-2 Tbs Vinegar
Sea Salt to taste
2 Hard Boiled Eggs - chopped
1 Tbs chopped dill

* Use Sauerkraut instead of the grated carrot, cabbage and vinegar if you have some - a much fuller flavour and better enzymes from the fermented vegetables

Boil the beetroots whole in water until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool, peel skin off and grate finely or blend. 
Meanwhile, combine the beef bone broth, vegetables, vinegar and garlic in a large heavy based pot. Allow to boil gently until all vegetables are well cooked. Add in beetroot and salt and allow to warm (the beetroot loses its brilliant colour if added too early to the soup). Serve with hard boiled eggs and dill stired through.
Never tasted soup with egg in it before? Well you should! What a fabulous addition to an already nutrient filled meal. This is the kind of soup you can eat as a main meal or add more water and make it lighter for a starter. Be warned, beetoot makes for messy eating, and very cute photography.

1 comment:

  1. Bone stocks have made a huge difference in our family. It's so wonderful to know that even if they are only eating very small amounts, the nutrient density hit is amazing! Thanks Em.