Summer Borscht

Growing up in the land of take-out and fried chicken, I hated most vegetables. Beets were certainly out of the question. The closest I ever got to them as a child was when my sister used them in science class as an example of natural dyes for fabric.

Well, things  have changed.  I now eat beets often and in a variety of ways.  It’s hard to beat a farm market beet cooked and sliced in a nice summer salad.


Every so often, and especially in the summertime, we make this delicious and refreshing cold soup, courtesy of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, lightening it up where we can by using fat-free sour cream, for example.

Although the entire thing comes together in under an hour, don’t forget to let the soup rest in the refrigerator  for four hours or so for the flavors to fully develop.

Beets aren’t just for dying fabric anymore!

Summer Borscht

Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ingredients

5 medium fresh beets (about 2 pounds without tops)
Kosher salt
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
16 ounces sour cream, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced English cucumber, seeds removed
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving

Preparation

1. Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

2. 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.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the beet cooking liquid, the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and the pepper.

4. Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife or rub the skins off with your hands. Cut the beets in small to medium dice.

5. Add the beets, cucumber, scallions, and dill to the soup.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

7. Season, to taste, and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprig of fresh dill.

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