Beets, cucumbers, and yogurt combine to create Chlodnik, a surprisingly refreshing Polish Cold Beet Soup.
Here in the States, we don’t think about soup the way many other cultures do. Soup is a winter standby: something comforting for when we’re cold.
How often do you crave a good soup in the summer?
Or have ever told someone about a restaurant and said, “What you REALLY have to try is their SOUP.”
Yeah, us neither.
The Polish on the other hand, they LOVE their soup. Never is a meal served without soup.
Tim’s parents have told us many stories about going to do yard work on a hot summer day for Tim’s Polish Great Aunt, and when they would come in for lunch, sweaty and tired, the first thing she would set before them was a steaming, hot bowl of soup.
Not quite what you want for a mid-day pick-me-up.
This soup on the other hand would be a better warm weather choice.
Borscht is a well known, beet soup, traditional in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, and Chlodnik is the chilled version.
This soup is a combination of beets and cucumbers with sour cream, yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk. The result is a surprisingly refreshing and light soup with an incredibly intense pink hue.
Be sure to pick young, baby beets for your soup, since smaller beets are sweeter and more tender. This will make all the difference in the flavor of your soup.
- ½ lb beets, peeled and grated
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 1 c buttermilk (or kefir)
- ¾ c plain, non-fat yogurt (or low-fat sour cream)
- ¼ c lemon juice
- 1 small cucumber, diced
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill (or 2 tsp dry)
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped (or 1 tsp dry)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp sugar (optional, depending upon how sweet your beets are)
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- Place grated beets in a 2 quart saucepan. Fill the pot with water until the beets are covered by about 1 inch. Heat, uncovered, over medium-low for 45 minutes. (You want the mixture to steam, but never reach a boil. Boiling will create a bit of a bitter flavor in the final soup.) After 45 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and refrigerate until cool. (This can be done ahead of time, and you can leave your beets chilling up to 48 hours in the fridge.)
- When you are ready to make the soup, add vegetable broth, buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice, diced cucumbers, dill, chives, and salt to the chilled beet and water mixture.
- Taste and add sugar if necessary.
- Serve cold, topped with hard boiled eggs and additional dill or chives, if desired.