Thursday, April 03, 2008

Summer Borscht

Borscht, like gazpacho, is one of those soups you either love or you hate. I tend to love them because it's refreshing and so unexpected. As you may have guessed, borscht is a cold soup, although there's a warm version as well. But the sour cream and the creaminess of the avocado give this cold soup another dimension beyond the Kremlin. Anyhoo, I had two bowls with a glass of pinot gris and I didn't wake up until the next morning!!!Da, it was that good!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 3 medium fresh beets (about 1 pound without tops)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup medium-diced English cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup medium-diced avocado
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving

Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and also set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the beet cooking liquid, the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.

Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife or rub the skins off with your hands. Cut the beets in small dice or grate them. Add the beets, cucumber, scallions, and dill to the soup. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Just before serving add the diced avocado. Season, to taste, and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprig of fresh dill.

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