Rybnaia Solianka

An unusual, filling soup from Russia, Rybnaia Solianka (raahb-nay-ah soh-lee-ayn-kah) is made toith vegetables and white fish. Haddock or halibut would be the best fish to use, but any firm white-fleshed fish is suitable.2 oz. butter

2 lb. white fish fillets

2 onions, thinly sliced and pushed out into rings

3 medium-sized carrots, scraped and chopped

1 cucumber, sliced

8 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, drained

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

2 pints chicken stock bouquet garni, consisting of parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

10 black olives, stoned

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 lemon, thinly sliced

In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the fish fillets and fry for 3 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, cut the fillets into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

Add the onions and carrots to the casserole and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the cucumber and tomatoes to the cas-serole and fry, stirring frequently, for a further 5 minutes.

Return the fish pieces to the casserole and season with the salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken stock and add the bouquet garni. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the olives and simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes or until the fish flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the parsley and lemon slices.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Ladle the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual soup bowls and serve immediately.

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