There can hardly be a more delightful way to start a summer lunch or al fresco dinner than with a refreshing chilled soup. Borscht from Young Beets is a healthy vegetarian soup, which just good served on a hot day.
Chilled Summer Soup from young Beets
- 1 1/2 pounds beets
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- fresh fennel
- crumbled feta for serving
Peel and slice the beets and put them in a large saucepan. Cover with 4-5 cups water and add the garlic, red onion, bay leaf, cloves, cayenne, sugar, vinegar, oil and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Check the seasoning of the broth. It should be distinctly sweet, sour, peppery and flavorful. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and cayenne if necessary, and freshly ground pepper. Cool slightly.
Remove the bay leaf. Purée the soup well in a blender, then strain into a large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator or over ice until cold.
To serve, pour into small water glasses. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and, if desired, fresh fennel and crumbled feta.