Oh you’ve never had a cold pink soup before? Pretty awesome right? It looks exotic but it is basically beets, radishes and cucumbers with some kefir and buttermilk and lots of herbs. Perfect for a hot day.
And it’s been hot. So hot that I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to turn the oven on and I definitely don’t want to carry two heavy bags of groceries home from my train stop or even the closest grocery store. But I honestly don’t mind the heat, maybe even so much so that I have developed an allergy to the cold. I am totally serious it is a thing, and I have it! I get hives when I’m in cold water and when my skin is exposed to cold air for too long. Yes I think there is something secretly wrong with me, but I am trying to not overthink it and be positive and drink lots of nettle tea and other weird healthy concoctions. My body is probably telling me to move to the Mediterranean, or Hawaii or maybe just California? Sometimes I really think your body knows better than your brain, especially because it’s basically what I do for a living, trust the body.
So this is a Polish, among other countries, soup. Chłodnik basically means something cold, in this case a soup, and it seems to always refer to this type of soup. The ch is pronounced like an h and the ł sounds like a w, and everything else sounds like it should, so good luck saying it. Gevork, my boyfriend, speaks Russian and he has so much trouble pronouncing the chł combination, which we practice with the word boy: chłopiec. This chłodnik also includes botwinka (w sounds like a v), which is the greens of young beets. Cold soup doesn’t seem to be a popular choice in America, and it is a shame. This soup is full of summer goodness. There are many variations of how to make it, it’s kind-of like all soups where you can really play around with it once you’ve made it once. I am leaving a simple classic variation here but feel free to get inspired.
4 small beets with leaves
1 lemon – or beet kvas – or both (I used some kvas I made to give it a tang)
handful of radishes (about 6)
handful of small cucumbers (about 4)
2 cups kefir
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 tbsp salt
freshly chopped parsley, dill and chives
hard boiled eggs, quartered
-peel and chop the beets into small diced cubes. chop the leaves finely as well. place beets and leaves into a large pot and cover with water and juice of one lemon and/or some beet kvas. boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes just until beets are cooked but the color stays.
-meanwhile clean the radishes and cucumbers and cut off the ends. juilenne them into thin little matchsticks. place them in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. pour the kefir and buttermilk on top those vegetables and stir well. toss in the herbs and stir well. refrigerate if needed.
-once the beets are cooked let them cool at room temperature and then place in the fridge for a bit to cool more.
-pour the kefir mixture into the beets and mix well. the color should look beautiful now! let the whole thing cool, season more if needed and serve with hard boiled eggs.