Cold soups break heat wave

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

The first cold soup I ever tasted was gazpacho many years ago. I loved it, and from then on it was full speed ahead.

If children are resistant to trying any of these because it “isn’t what they’re used to,” introduce it with scoops and let them try it as a dip.

Of all these recipes, my favorite is the cold cucumber soup. It has summer written all over it and is cool and refreshing.

So if you’re in a rut with food or just want to shake up your family, try one of these.

Remember, you can’t say you don’t like it until after you try it.


Classic Vichyssoise

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 leeks, bulb only, sliced into rings
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

In a large stock pot melt butter over low heat. Add leeks and onion, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, marjoram, bay leaf and stir well. Cover pot and continue to cook for 12 minutes.

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, partially covered for 30 minutes.

Puree soup in blender or food processor and cool.

Prior to serving add cream. If you are serving this soup warm you need to reheat the soup slowly so that the cream does not change consistency.


Borscht (Cold Beet Soup)

  • 3 large or 4 medium beets
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • Salt
  • Pinch of sour salt (optional)
  • 5 c. water
  • 2 extra-large whole eggs or 4 yolks
  • Pinch of sugar, if needed
  • White pepper to taste
  • Sour cream to garnish

Wash and peel the beets and cut into fine dice or grate on the coarse side of a grater. Pour five cups of water into a pot. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, a pinch each of salt and sour salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Add the juice of another 1/2 lemon. Remove from the heat.

Using whole eggs results in creamier, thicker borscht, but it’s easy to mess this up and end with coagulated egg. If you don’t feel confident about this step, just use the yolks… Either way you decide to go, beat the eggs with a fork until they are thin and watery. Slowly ladle some of the hot borscht into the eggs, beating constantly. When about half the soup has been added, pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining soup; again pouring slowly and beating constantly. When all the egg mixture is beaten into the soup, pour the soup back and forth between the pot and a bowl or pitcher about 10 or 15 times until the mixture is smooth, airy, and creamy. Halfway through, add more lemon juice to produce a winy effect; add a tiny pinch of sugar, if necessary, and salt and white pepper as needed. Continue pouring to blend. Chill thoroughly.

It is best to add sour cream shortly before serving so that the borscht will keep longer. The sour cream can simply be served on the side, to be spooned in at the table. Or you can add sour cream (about one heaping tablespoonful per cupful of borscht) to the soup in a jar. Close tightly and shake vigorously to blend.


Roasted Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho

  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 lbs. firm but ripe medium tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise
  • 8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 (5 x 3 x 1/2-inch) slices country-style bread
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into small cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 3 tbsp. (or more) Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
  • 3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 c. cold water (optional)
  • 3 green onions cut into thin strips

Prepare grill medium-high heat). Place first three ingredients on baking sheet. Brush with three tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of bread with two tablespoons oil. Grill vegetables until skins are charred, turning frequently, about eight minutes for tomatoes, 10 minutes for onion, and 15 minutes for pepper. Return to baking sheet. Grill bread until toasted, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Cut one garlic clove in half; rub over toasted sides of bread. Cut bread into small cubes; reserve croutons.

Remove charred skins and cores from tomatoes. Peel, seed, and core pepper; coarsely chop. Remove charred papery peel and core from onion. Set aside half of chopped cucumber for garnish. Working in two batches, add half each of tomatoes, pepper, onion, and remaining cucumber to processor and blend until coarse puree forms. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Repeat with remaining tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Using garlic press, squeeze in remaining two garlic cloves. Stir in remaining three tablespoons olive oil, three tablespoons vinegar, marjoram, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Thin soup, if desired, with cold water by 1/4 cupfuls. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least two hours. Season gazpacho to taste with more salt and more vinegar, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cucumber, croutons, and green onions; serve.

Cold Cucumber Soup

  • 4 large cucumbers, peeled
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dill weed
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pt. sour cream
  • Fresh or dried dill

Cut several thin slices of cucumber for garnish; soak in ice water until needed. Chop remaining cucumber and onion. Sauté in butter until wilted but not browned.

Process sautéed vegetables with 2-3 drops of green food coloring in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Add chicken stock, lemon juice, dill (crush seeds lightly) and salt; simmer five minutes. Chill six hours.

Just before serving, stir in sour cream. Garnish with crisp cucumber slices and sprinkle with fresh or dried dill. Serves 6-8.