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Cucumber and buttermilk borscht

    Borscht with Buttermilk and Grated Cucumber

    This chilled beet soup is vibrant and earthy thanks to fresh summer herbs, and it can be made without turning on the burner. A brief marinade tames the earthiness of shredded beets in a pickle juice brine. The combination of grated cucumber and buttermilk results in a refreshingly tangy, crunchy salad. Each dish is made more substantial by the topping of hard-cooked egg quarters, sour cream, and fresh herbs, adding colour and texture. This chilled beet soup is vibrant and earthy thanks to fresh summer herbs, and it can be made without turning on the burner. A brief marinade tames the earthiness of shredded beets in a pickle juice brine. The combination of grated cucumber and buttermilk results in a refreshingly tangy, crunchy salad. Each dish is made more substantial by the topping of hard-cooked egg quarters, sour cream, and fresh herbs, adding colour and texture.

    Ingredients

    • 2 pounds peeled cooked red beets
    • ½ cup dill pickle juice
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
    • 1 large cucumber (about 12 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
    • 1 cup cold water
    • ½ cup chopped scallions (from 4 large scallions), plus more for garnish
    • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
    • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, plus more to taste
    • 4 cups buttermilk
    • 8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • Chopped fresh herbs (such as chives or flat-leaf parsley), for serving

    Directions

    1. Box grate beets into a big basin using the most significant holes. Toss in 1 tablespoon of salt, sugar, and pickle juice. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavours to blend.

    2. Add the grated cucumber to the bowl with the beets and shred the cucumber using the big holes of a box grater. To the bowl, pour 1 cup of cold water, scallions, dill, lemon juice, pepper, and the remaining two teaspoons of salt, and whisk gently until incorporated. The soup should be a uniform fuchsia colour, so add buttermilk in two increments, folding and stirring gently between each addition. Add more salt and pepper to the mixture if desired. (The seasoning in the soup has to be bold.)

    3. Cover and chill the soup in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days until serving. Top with chopped fresh herbs, scallions, dill, and hard-cooked eggs before serving.

    Gain Ground

    Make the soup a day ahead and refrigerate it in an airtight container.

    Note

    To increase the decadence, substitute full-fat buttermilk. You may get ready-to-eat beets in the chilled produce area. Paper towelling cooked beets is an easy way to get rid of their skins.

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