Summer, time of Italian ice, ice cream, Popsicles, tomato sandwiches, salads full of fresh cold veggies and cucumber soup! Really, cucumber soup on a hot summer day is cool on your palate and fairly healthy. And we have had a lot of hot days of late; so you are due for a refreshing cool soup. It is also a perfect use for three cukes straight from your overburdened cucumber vines. Or three cucumbers from a produce stand. The fresher the cuke the better your soup will be.
This recipe came out of a magazine a couple of decades ago, one of my sisters served it once and I got the recipe from her and have been so pleased with its flavor and texture every time I make it. I have made raw cucumber soups and they are enjoyable, but this is hands down my favorite cucumber soup. If you don’t like dill leave it out. I have done that; it is more delicate, and you can then really taste the hint of lemon in the soup. Once I made it with vegetable broth for a vegetarian and it was excellent that way too.
Chilled Cucumber Soup
3 medium cucumbers
1 small onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp mild olive oil
zest of half a lemon
1/2 cup decent white wine
2.5-3 cups good quality chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Directions: Take 3 medium cukes, peel them, cut in half at the middle point and then in half again from the stem to end so they are like short cucumber canoes. Then scoop out most or all of the seeds. Shred the cuke canoes into a big bowl using the biggest hole size on your shredder. Drain in a strainer but save the juice to add to the soup along the way.
Cut up one small onion: 1/3 cup or so.
Cut up 3 scallions
Melt 2 tbsp of butter and a tbsp olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, cook 1-2 minutes and then add the shredded cuke. Cook 5 min, add the scallions, stir, then add chicken broth to cover; 2.5 to 3 cups.
Add ½ cup dry white wine, the reserved cuke juice and the zest of ½ a lemon (1 tsp). Sometimes if I don’t have an open bottle of white wine, I use vermouth; it works well in a pinch.
Heat until nearly boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 20-25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes and puree. You can use an immersion blender, a regular blender or a food processor. The boat motor blender (immersion) is much more fun and easier. I like to leave a bit of it unblended, so it isn’t really smooth like a true cream soup. Add 1 cup sour cream and 1 tsp sea salt, whisk well. I use light sour cream; Daisy is my favorite brand. Add 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh dill. Stir well. Chill 4 to 6 hours.
I often chill the bowls if it is a hot day and so ice-cold soup goes into equally cold bowls. You can garnish with a dill frond or not. Or a small dollop of sour cream can be pleasant.
The photo above is from a past family dinner party. It makes quite a bit; enough to serve 6-8 people.
Chilled cucumber soup; it’s a great starter to a meal on a hot summer evening or for a light lunch pair it with a salad or some grilled fish. Yummy!
Originally published July 2014.