Let's say your husband is working the night shift on a big project, it's hot as a griddle outside and your local farmer's market had the most beautiful beets on display...what would you do?
Well I don't know what you'd do, but I'd make bortsch.
Alright, I'll admit, I was a little skeptical at first too. I'd seen it on a rerun of Barefoot Contessa and was intrigued by it's vivid color and ability to be served cold. It's been so humid here and I've been craving lighter suppers and drinking everything in sight. But is that weird pink soup is actually going to taste good? Ina was in character and excited about it. What the heck? I'm culinarily adventurous.
I was thankfully pleasantly surprised (a good thing because my backup plan was hotdogs at the Rootbeer Stand, and you know how good those things are for you). The soup is sweet, with a thin broth and mild tang from the vinegar and lemon juice. The sour cream adds a richness and creaminess and the cucumbers add a slight nice crunch. I even had seconds.
A quick warning note: Beet juice stains turns everything it touches a rich pinkpurple color, so dress accordingly for preparation.
Recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa.
5 medium beets
2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)
16 oz sour cream + extra for garishing (I used lowfat)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons champange vinegar
2 cups diced cucumber, seeds removed
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill + extra for garnishing (I used ~ 1 tablespoon dried)
Bring beets to a boil in salted water. Boil for 30 - 40 minutes until beets can be pierced easily by a knife. Remove beets from cooking liquid (reserve cooking liquid) and cool beets until they're comfortable to handle (I stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes), then peel off skins. Cut into medium dice and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine chicken stock, ~ 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, sour cream, sugar, vinegar and dill. Whisk to combine. Add chopped beets, cucumber, scallions and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and additional chopped dill before serving.