Clear Summer Borscht

Categories: Liver Blood Stasis, Liver Blood Vacuity, Liver Qi Stagnation

Clear Summer Borscht
By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN
Published: August 6, 2008

This glistening, lemony summer borscht is infused with garlic and utterly refreshing, even thirst-quenching. If you enrich the soup with yogurt, the color will be dark pink. If you don’t, it will be a clear, dark red.
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

2 pounds beets (8 medium, usually 2 bunches), peeled, cut in half and sliced in thin half-moons

7 cups water

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

6 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 plump garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise, green shoots removed

3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (optional)

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut in small dice

Chopped fresh dill or chives for garnish

1. Combine the beets, water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a soup pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice, remaining salt, and sugar and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the garlic. Allow to cool, then cover and chill (you can speed this process by transferring the soup to a bowl and placing the bowl in an ice bath). Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove the garlic cloves.

2. Place 2 tablespoons yogurt, if desired, into the center of chilled soup bowls. Ladle in the soup. Garnish with diced cucumber and minced dill or chives.

Advance preparation: This soup can be made a day ahead and will be good for 2 or 3 days.

Yield: Serves 6

Approximate Nutritional Information: 107 calories per serving;7 calories from fat; total fat: 0.8g; saturated fat 0g; cholesterol 2mg; sodium 173mg; total carbohydrates 22.8g; dietary fiber: 3.4g; sugars 17.5g; protein 4.6g