Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hungarian Cold Cherry Soup

Here is one of my favorite things to eat. It's a cold Hungarian summer soup, and is not difficult to make. The hardest part is finding cherries.The recipe calls for two pounds of cherries. It can be just a little more or a little less; generally one bag from the grocery store is enough for this.I like to pit the cherries. That's not actually required; the soup can be made with whole cherries, which leaves a little more flavor inside of the cherries rather than in the entire soup-- but then you have to eat it very cautiously, which isn't so nice. Incidentally, cherry pits have cyanide in them. So do apple seeds. So do millipedes. (One or two won't kill you, and it won't leach out into the soup. Cherry pits, that is.)Dump the cherries into a pot and add a slice of lemon (or a couple teaspoons of lemon juice) and two tablespoons of sugar. Simmer it for ten minutes or until the cherries are softened. Don't let it boil, and don't cook the cherries down-- that's too far.In a separate bowl, mix together two teaspoons of cornstarch and three tablespoons of sour cream. Make sure it's nice and smooth, with no starchy lumps. This is a thickener for the soup, but certainly not enough to make it taste like sour cream or anything like that. Take the pot off the burner and stir in the sour cream mixture. Don't worry if it looks all nasty like this.Put the pot back on low heat and stir it until the spots dissolve and it's a nice even pink color. Don't let it boil. The consistency will thicken ever so slightly, but this isn't going to be noticeable until you eat it, so don't worry if nothing seems to happen. After it's done, put it in the refrigerator to cool. This is a cold soup. It wouldn't taste so nice, hot.This soup is served with whipped cream. The soup itself isn't very sweet except for the flavor of the cherries, which means it's delicious, because who needs tons of sugar, anyway? It's such a lovely mauve color. Also, this picture doesn't fully capture how pretty it actually looks.

In Hungarian, this soup can be called cseresznyeleves (cheh-rehs-nyeh leh-vesh), or meggyleves (medy' leh-vesh) if sour cherries are used. Cold apple soup is good, too, and is made along the same general principle, but I'll write a post about that one, later. Enjoy!

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