Serves 6 to 8 people.
1 lb uncooked beetroot, leaves and stalks removed.
2 1/2 pints of stock
1 small carrot
1 medium onion
6 oz cabbage
1 bouquet garni
salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon
sour cream (one tablespoon per person)
Wash the beetroots carefully (this time you need to get all the mud off but don't peel them yet).
Put them in a large saucepan with the stock.
Peel and dice the carrot and onion. Wash and finely shred the cabbage. Add all the vegetables to the saucepan with the bouquet garni and the salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for two hours until the beetroots are cooked.
Remove the beetroots from the soup and leave them to cool slightly. Remove the bouquet garni from the soup and discard it.
Top and tail the beetroot and peel off the skins. Dice the flesh and add three quarters of it to the soup. Purée the soup (e.g. in a liquidiser or through a seive).
Add the lemon juice to the puréed soup. Throw in the remaining diced beetroot.
Just before serving, bring the soup back to the boil (make sure it is well heated through if it has been left for a while). Serve hot in bowls, with a spoonful of sour cream dropped gently into the centre of each bowl.