My grandma and mom used to make this refreshing soup very frequently in summer. It was typically made from young beets — tender bunch beets no larger than 2-3 inches in diameter. The idea here is to extract as much flavor and color from the beets as possible in the shortest possible time. Then you just season and let your soup cool down, chill if desire, and add some flavor and texture variety straight into a bowl.
This soup will not make a meal, but it will make a refreshing starter or a snack. It will give you a healthy punch of vitamins without taking itself too seriously, and a burst of purplish-red color will cheer you up along the way. One of the best selling points (besides the flavor that is) is that it cannot get any easier to make, which is a quality not to be overlooked on a hot summer day.
Summer Beet Soup
- 2 quarts (8 cups) water
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 medium beets or a bunch of smaller beets, peeled and grated or julienned
- 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
- juice of 2 small lemons
- 1 large English cucumber, peeled and diced
- 4 eggs, hardboiled, cooled, peeled and diced
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill or cilantro
- sour cream
Bring water to a boil with salt in a soup pot.
Add grated or julienned beets. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes if grated, and 7-8 minutes if julienned.
Turn the stove off. Add sugar and lemon juice.
Let the soup cool. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice if needed. The soup should be lightly tart and very lightly sweet. Beets are naturally sweet, but once in a while you get the odd ones and may feel that more sugar is needed. You should wait for the soup to cool before adjusting seasoning because flavors become brighter and more prominent as it cools.
Serve soup with nice helping of garnish and a dollop of sour cream added straight into the serving bowls.