Valentine’s Borscht

This bright red soup is popular around Eastern Europe, and is an excellent way to use up beets of any kind. This version uses tinned tomatoes but you can also make it with shredded red cabbage and grated carrot, depending on what you have to use up. You can also swap the butter for vegetable oil, and use unsweetened dairy-free yoghurt to make a vegan version.

Adapted by Chelsea from A Soup for Every Day, New Covent Garden Food Co.
Serves 4

25g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
225g raw beets (beetroot), grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
225g chopped tomatoes (or fresh ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped)
275ml tomato juice
1 Tablespoon tomato purée
575ml vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

To serve – Greek yogurt, fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic and beets, stirring to distribute evenly. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, without browning the vegetables. Once the vegetables have softened, add the cumin, cinnamon, tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato purée and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and add soy sauce. Taste and season further if desired.Blend until smooth with an immersion blender, or transfer carefully to a standing blender. The soup can be served chilled or hot. Serve on its own or with a dollop of yogurt and fresh coriander.