Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fresh Summer Barszcz (Chłodnik)

Welcome to summer!  This cool refreshing soup is a meal unto itself and a clear winner, even for friends who have not yet discovered the goodness of beets.   This soup is a mainstay of classic Polish cuisine and has been around for centuries. Full of garden flavors and vegetable crunch, it’s immensely refreshing as the most perfect lunch or light supper. We're having a bowl tonight  (see photo below), with a hunk of fresh aromatic rye bread smeared with soft sweet butter and paired with a dry white wine. 

Serves 10
  • 2 cups beets, drained and cut in 1/4 inch julienne (fresh roasted beets are waaay better!)
  • 1/4 cup beet juice
  • 1 cup chopped kale or swiss chard
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups beef broth 
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup sliced roast pork or veal
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 fresh radish sliced thinly

Simmer the beets, stems and leaves in 1/4 cup of beet juice and the vinegar for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the beef broth and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Mix the flour into 1/4 cup water, add to the beet mixture and stir.  Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.  Cool completely.  Mix in all the remaining ingredients and chill for several hours.  Serve cold.

Tip:  for a truly stunning presentation, garnish the soup with a few whole "head-on" shrimp, slices of hard boiled egg, radish slices, and chopped fresh dill.  While not everyone appreciate a "head-on" shrimp, the visual presentation is stunning. 

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