Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cold Cucumber Soup

Simple ingredients combine here to make a delicious refresher for late summer. Anyone with a garden has too many cucumbers. If you don't have a garden, cucumbers are cheap at the supermarket or your local farm stand.

This recipe does require a blender. I have a wand (or immersion) blender which works great (we won't discuss the mess my regular blender made when the bottom fell out while making this soup), takes up little space, and is inexpensive. If you are looking for a blender, I strongly recommend that you get a wand blender. Unless you are willing to spend a bundle on a Vita-Mix or similar ultra high-end blender, a wand blender is a great choice.

A tip on cutting up anything that is round: square off a side so it doesn't roll around. You could slice across the whole cucumber, but no one is going to see your lovely handiwork in this recipe. Cut the cucumber lengthwise, place the flat side on your cutting board and slice into half moons.

One could think of this as a vegetable smoothie. It's cool and creamy and refreshing.

Cold Cucumber Soup
(serves 6; costs $5)

2 Tablespoons butter
3 cups of sliced, peeled cucumber (about 1 large cucumber)
½ onion, chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, hot
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of dried dill weed (optional)
½ cup sour cream (see Note)
½ cup whole milk or half and half
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 Tablespoon minced parsley, for garnish (optional)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cucumber and onion. Cook until onion becomes translucent but do not brown. Stir in salt, flour, broth, lemon juice, and dill. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Puree with a blender and chill.

When the soup is cold, use a whisk to mix in sour cream and milk. Add diced cucumber and parsley and serve.

Note: The dairy is used to add creamy richness. I used sour cream and milk but what you use is quite adaptable depending on what you have on hand. You could use 1 cup of buttermilk or 1 cup of yogurt. Or some combination of any of these things. If you use just milk, the soup will be very mild. If you use only sour cream or yogurt or buttermilk, it will be tangy.

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