LITHUANIAN STYLE BEET SOUP
For the soup:
For the beetroot leaven (Kvas):
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 1 cup of kefir
- 1 cup of vegetable stock
- 10-15 grated radishes
- 2 bunches of beetroot greens
- Fresh dill
- 3 hardboiled eggs
- 2 grated, medium-size cucumbers
- Beetroot leaven
- 1 stem of fresh mint
- handful of chives
- 8.5 cups of filtered water
- 2lbs of beetroot
- a handful of fresh dill
- a stick of fresh horseradish
- 1 full, bulb of garlic
- 6 Bay leaves
- 10 allspice grains
This flavorful soup is a popular tradition of Poland’s Podlaskie region introduced into the local menu by its Lithuanian inhabitants years ago. A delicious spring dish, it is made with a beautiful medley of vegetables and herbs making it not only a very characteristic dish in terms of flavor but also a very nutritious one too! Served chilled, it’s a great dish to cool down with during the warmer months.
To make the beetroot leaven: :
- Fill a medium-sized stoneware container (can also be glass) with 8.5 cups of water.
- Peal the beetroot and cut into thick slices.
- Chop the bulb of garlic in half.
- Toss the beetroot slices, garlic, fresh dill, stick of horseradish, Bay leaves and allspice into the water in the stoneware jar.
- Cover the jar with a lid and set aside for 5-7 days to ferment.
- After 5-7 days, strain your leaven and transfer over to a separate container. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to make your soup.
To make the soup:
- Combine all the herbs (chives, mint, dill) into one bunch, finely chop them all together and set aside in a bowl.
- Chop beetroot leaves and stems. Start by cutting off the beetroot. Then, chop the stems and leaves into finer pieces.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl:
- Pour in the vegetable stock.
- Pour in the cup of kefir.
- Pour in 2 cups of buttermilk.
- Add in 1 cup of sour cream.
- Add in all the vegetables – grated radishes, grated cucumbers, chopped herbs, and chopped beet greens.
- Finally, pour in about 1.5 cups of beet kvas.
- Stir all the ingredients of the soup thoroughly in the bowl until it achieves a light, purple color.
- Add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the bowl of soup in the fridge for 4-5 hours so that all the ingredients and flavors set and thoroughly blend.
Serve and enjoy:
- Remove the bowl of soup from the fridge and serve chilled into each bowl.
- Add a boiled egg half into each bowl.
- Garnish with mint leaves and a pinch of dill.