Green Borshch

Zeleniy borshch

Photograph: Kris Kirkham

Come spring, we pick basketfuls of sorrel from mum’s vegetable patch, pick duck eggs from her ducks and cook this emerald-green beauty. You can use chicken or vegetable stock, but rich duck stock tamed by sharp fresh sorrel is a winner for me.

Grandma Lusia always made a huge pile of Moldovan flat breads to go with it.I would keep the legs and breasts for a different dish, use the back, wings and giblets for this soup.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 duck, back, wings and giblets
  • 1 onion, peeled but left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 100g beetroot leaves and stalks, chopped or 1 small beetroot, julienned
  • 50g sorrel, sliced with its stalks
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 chicken eggs (or duck eggs!), hard-boiled and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch dill, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 60g sour cream to serve
  1. Place the duck, giblets (bar the liver), onion and bay leaf into a large sauce pan and cover with 2.5L of cold water. Add a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a simmer and skim the surface, discarding all the scum. Simmer on the lowest heat possible for 2 hours or until the duck meat falls off the bone. The liquid will reduce by almost half. Keep skimming it from time to time.
  2. Strain the broth into a bowl, reserve the duck bits and pour the liquid back into the pan. Check the seasoning – add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pull the duck meat off the bones, discard the bones and set the meat aside.
  4. Skim half a ladleful of duck broth from the very top (you are aiming to skim the fat here) and pour it into a frying pan. Boil off the liquid for a minute until you are left with just duck fat. Add the onions and carrot to the pan and sweat over a medium heat stirring all the time until the onion and carrot are soft and caramelised ever so slightly. These will provide beautiful sweetness to the broth.
  5. Introduce this to your stock, followed by potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the beetroot leaves and stalks and cook for 5 minutes and switch the heat off.
  7. Place some duck meat into each serving bowl. Then add the raw, chopped sorrel and spring onions on top and pour over the hot stock over them. Garnish with chopped egg, dill and parsley. Serve with a spoonful of good quality sour cream.