Cold Pink Borscht



By Christine Muhlke from The New York Times ~ July 14, 2010



  • 1 1/2 lb beets
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 C whole-milk yogurt
  • chopped fresh dill or chives (optional)



Peel and slice the beets and put them in a large saucepan. Cover with 8 cups water and add the garlic, shallots, bay leaf, coriander, cloves, cayenne, sugar, vinegar, oil and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Check the seasoning of the broth. It should be distinctly sweet, sour, peppery and flavorful. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and cayenne if necessary, and freshly ground pepper. Cool slightly.

Remove the bay leaf. Purée the soup well in a blender, then strain into a large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator or over ice until cold.

Just before serving, whisk in the yogurt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a splash of vinegar if necessary. Thin with a little water to achieve the correct thickness – like a thin milkshake. To serve, pour into small water glasses. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and, if desired, fresh dill or chives.