This recipe for cold buttermilk borscht is perfect for the first warm days of spring, when local beets are just coming into season. Top with yogurt, crumbled feta, or crème fraîche and extra herbs before serving.
By Yankee Magazine
Feb 08 2019
Cold Buttermilk BorschtPhoto Credit : Jennifer May
This recipe for cold buttermilk borscht appears in Alana Chernila’s second book, The Homemade Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, 2015). It’s a perfect choice for the first warm days of spring, when you’re craving bright flavors and the local beets are just coming into season. It also travels well, making it a great picnic starter. Transport it in single-serving Mason jars and top with yogurt, crumbled feta, or crème fraîche and extra herbs before serving.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (from 1 to 2 leeks)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 pounds red beets, roasted, skinned, and quartered
4 cups water or stock
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon), plus more if needed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: Yogurt, crème fraîche, or feta cheese crumbles; chopped cucumbers; extra herbs
Warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When it starts to shimmer, add the chopped leeks and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and allow leeks to cool for a few minutes.
In a blender, combine the beets, leeks (along with any juices from the pan), water or stock, buttermilk, lemon juice, dill, mint, basil, and several grinds of pepper. (Depending on the size of the blender, you might have to do this in batches. Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a large pot and blend with an immersion blender.) Blend until smooth and transfer to the refrigerator. When the soup is cold, taste and add salt or lemon juice if necessary. Serve cold, with extra pepper and the toppings of your choice.