Thursday, July 30, 2015

Šaltibarščiai - aka "cold soup" - from beetroot


As the name might suggest to my fellow Hungarians, this is everything but Hungarian dish :), however, it is summer, and hot, and the last thing I felt like eating was a warm soup.

Not to mention how I miss our travels through Europe, which feel so far away as it is hard not to get homesick.

One of my favorite soups was the cold beetroot soup. OK, all cold or hot beetroot soups were one of my favorites, and I even posted already one here, but it was time for the next one.

This is I think my absolute favorite Baltic beetroot soup, and we are still in season for making it.
The difference between the one posted earlier and this? For this you'll need the WHOLE vegetable, including the leaves and the stem.
It also requires one healthy godness: buttermilk.

If you are not yet convinced you should prepare it, let me tell you that is ready in 20-30 minutes, depending what tools you have at hand and how effective you are, of course :). For me it takes 30 minutes, 'cause I'll be searching for various cooking tools for at least 10 minutes.. *sigh*

Ingredients (serves 6)
1 bunch of young beetroot, with leaves
1 medium/small cucumber
1 bunch of chives
1 small bunch of dill
1 liter (quart) buttermilk
salt, pepper
radishes - optional

hot boiled potatoes, 1-1.5 / person
boiled eggs
dill, chives 

In a small pot put couple of potatoes to boil in their skin.

Cut and clean the beetroot heads, cut the in 4 and put them to boil for about 5 minutes in ~ 1 liter of water.
Meanwhile cut the stem, and the leaves in small pieces and stripes.
Remove the beetroot from the water with a skimmer. DO NOT discard the hot water!
Add the chopped stem to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile in a food processor crush the beetroot heads.
When the stems were boiling for 5 minutes, add the beetroot leaves and boil for additional 5 minutes.
At the end add the crushed beetroot and boil the together for additional 2 minutes.
Chop the chives in very small pieces, ad well as the dill.
Peel and grate the cucumber.

Drain the boiled beetroot, but again, DO NOT discard the water!
Place 1/2 - 1 egg / person to boil. I like it with the yolk still orange and soft, so I add them to bioling water and boil them only for 4 minutes.

Place the beetroot in a glass serving bowl (any bowl), let it cool slightly. Add the buttermilk, salt (I added about 1/2 tsp), pinch of black pepper, mix, and slowly add the wonderfully dark red water in which the beetroot boiled.
Last, mix in the chopped chives, dill (save some of both for serving!), and the grated cucumber.
If you chose to add radish, do not forget to either chop or grate those too and mix it in the soup.
Drain the potatoes, skin and cut in half or four.

Serve with hot boiled potatoes on the side, with some extra Greek yogurt if preferred more sour, the boiled eggs and some chives and dill for garnish!

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