Chlodnik is the Polish name for a chilled cucumber and beetroot soup. This should not be confused with the well known borscht, it is something entirely different! The word translates more or less to 'chiller'. Do not confuse with chodnik, as that means pavement!!! I was going to do a writeup on just the traditional variety when I realized that not only could I find a multitude of interesting Polish recipes for the soups but that there is a hell of a lot of similar chilled soups not involving cucumber and beetroot as well as some international equivalents like the good old Gazpacho. Therefore I decided to try and compile a number of chilled soup recipes for your viewing (and hopefully, eating) pleasure. To start things off I have included 3 more or less traditional recipes and an interesting chilled soup from Spain. Enjoy!!

Please note that some of these recipes require sour milk. In most countries you can readily purchase sour milk in the supermarkets. For those who are however unable to do so there is a very easy way to make some:

Pour the milk (non UHT long storage milk!!!) into a large flat container (e.g. a baking plate, with sides obviously! :-) ). Cover with a cotton cloth. Let it sit for about 36 hours. If it starts to curdle it is fine for the purposes of the recipes. If it is still not curdling (which may be the case due to the sterile nature of supermarket milk), add a little bit of lemon juice, which works as an instant curdler. That's it!

One or two of the recipes use something called kvas. Kvas is a fermented bread drink, which was an early beer-like beverage. It originates from Ukraine/Northern Russia/Poland. I will put up a recipe for making this. But I have found a company in America selling this healthy beverage. You can check out their site at:
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with that site.

Chlodnik 1

Makes four servings
  1. Wash the red beetroots thoroughly(!), throw away the ugly leaves and chop up the leaves and stems, dice the baby beetroots. Boil a small amount of water and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the diced beetroots and chopped leaves and boil for 10 minutes with the lid on. Let he soup stand and cool down.
  2. Wash the cucumber, peel it and dice it. Rinse the spring onions and dill and chop it up (not to finely). Wash the radish and slice it thinly.
  3. Dice the hard-boiled eggs in pieces of about 2 cm. Cut the roast veal in thin strips.
  4. Whisk the sour milk in a large pan. Whisk the sour cream in a separate container and add to the milk. Whisk the cream into the milk. Add the cooled baby beet soup. Add all of the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper according to preference. Let the soup stand in the fridge for at least 2 to 3 hours prior to serving.
  5. Stir before serving. If required garnish with dill and/or more diced egg.
Alternatively you can choose to make the soup without the leaves and stems. Instead of the roast veal you can use any kind of tender meat or even ham blocks.

(Chlodnik can be stored refrigerated for up to three days)

Source: "Encyklopedia sztuki kulinarnej", vol 26 "Soups", page 74.

Russian baby beet chlodnik

Makes four servings
  • 1 l kvas,
  • 4 baby red beetroots (approx. 500 g)(with leaves and stems),
  • 2 cucumbers,
  • 2 hard boiled eggs,
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream,
  • 80 g chives,
  • 4 tablespoons dill,
  • 1 teaspoon sugar,
  • salt
  1. Separate the baby beetroots from the leaves and stems. Keep the leaves and stems. Add half a litre cold water to the baby beetroots. Bring to boil and boil for another 25-30 minutes on a small fire. Add the leaves and stems for the last 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the beetroots and leaves and chop them finely. Save the soup and let it cool.
  3. Quarter the eggs. Peel the cucumbers and dice them. Chop the chives and dill.
  4. Put the beetroots, leaves, dill and chives together, add the cream and sugar. Mix in well with the kvas and the beet soup. Add the quartered eggs.
  5. Serve well chilled. If required, garnish with a little bit of crushed ice.
(Chlodnik can be stored refrigerated for up to three days)

Source: "Encyklopedia sztuki kulinarnej", vol 2 "Russian Kitchen", page 26.

Bulgarian Chlodnik

  1. Peel the cucumbers. Cut the cucumber in half (lengthwise) scrape out the pits and cut them in slices.
  2. Mash the garlic with the salt and add the olive oil. Mix well. Add a tablespoon of water and whisk it up.
  3. Pour boiling water over the walnuts and let them sit for 5 minutes. Drain the water and peel the skins. Chop the nuts finely.
  4. Mix the sour milk with the garlic mass. Add the cream and walnuts. Whisk everything up.
  5. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Spanish Grape Soup

Makes four servings
  1. Cut the rolls in small pieces, remove the crust and let them soak in the water for 30 minutes. Drain the excess water.
  2. Clean the grapes and carefully peel them. Set them in a separate dish.
  3. Pour boiling water over the almonds and let them sit for 5 minutes. Drain the water and peel the skins. Peel the garlic and chop it finely.
  4. Crush the almonds and garlic together into a uniform mass. Add the breadrolls, olive oil and vinegar. Mix well. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  5. Add chilled water to the mass and stir until the soup gains a fluid creamy consistency.
  6. Serve in separate bowls generously garnished with grapes.

....more to come as I test the recipes, in the mean time Enjoy!

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