July 26, 2012


"Šaltibarščiai" is the Lithuanian word for "Cold Beet Soup." We never call it "Borscht." A bowl of Šaltibarščiai is a real summer treat. Here's our family recipe:

3 cups buttermilk (I use 2 cups buttermilk and 1 cup Tzatziki. Some people use kefir.)
8 ounces (1 cup) sour cream, stirred
3/4 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (McCormick "Grill Mates" Montreal Seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
One pound cooked beets, peeled or one 16 ounce can whole, small beets, drained (reserve liquid)*
8 ounces cucumber, preferably seedless, peeled
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup freshly scallions, white and green parts (3 to 4 scallions)
1/4 cup fresh dill weed, minced (measures 1/2 cup, loosely packed, before mincing)
1/2 to 3/4 cup reserved beet liquid
additional fresh dill weed, minced
hot boiled potatoes

In a large (3- to 4-quart) serving bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Tzatziki (if using), sour cream, salt and pepper, horseradish, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Blend well to combine.

In the workbowl of a food processor, with the shredding disk in place, shred the drained beets and peeled cucumber. Transfer to the serving bowl.

Insert the metal blade into the workbowl of the food processor. Add the hard-boiled eggs, scallions, and dill weed. Process, using on/off turns, until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Add to the serving bowl with the beets and cucumbers.

If mixture seems thick, add some of the reserved beet liquid. (How "thick" the soup should be is a personal preference. I come from the school of thick soup, so I rarely add more than 1/2 cup.) Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, garnish soup with fresh dill sprigs. Serve with a boiled potato on the side, topped with the fresh dill.

Makes 10 cups.

*It's summer, and it's hot. Why heat up the kitchen by boiling or roasting fresh beets? Canned beets work perfectly in this recipe.

UPDATE: My Toronto Cousin sends this image of a bowl of pink Šaltibarščiai, served with a side of boiled potatoes, in a Lithuanian café:

No comments: