Summer Beet Soup
- 2 to 3 medium beets, or 5 to 6 small beets (Try to use very fresh beets, as these will produce the best color.)
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and cut into ¼-in/6-mm dice
- 1 small celery stalk, with leaves; stalks cut into ¼-in/6-mm dice, and leaves finely chopped
- ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp/10 g finely chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp/10 g finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 large bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of sugar
- 8 cups/2 L kefir or, if unavailable, plain nonfat yogurt
- 3 large eggs or 12 quail’s eggs, hard-boiled (Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.)
In a large saucepan, cover the beets with water and boil until soft. Drain and let cool, and then remove the skins (they should slip off easily).
Cut the beets into relatively small, even dice, about ¼ in/6 mm. Toss the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl, together with the salt, pepper, and sugar.
Pour in the kefir (or yogurt), and mix all the ingredients in the bowl together well. Refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight. You will notice that the beets will have “bled”—creating bright pink streaks. Stir to even out the color, bearing in mind the summery blush is part of the soup’s traditional charm. When ready to serve, peel and thinly slice the hard-boiled eggs (or halve the quail eggs, and use two eggs per serving).
Mix the soup again just before serving, and ladle into individual bowls, placing the egg slices on top.
Excerpted from A Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.