There's nothing more refreshing on a warm, summer day than a bowl of cold soup! With crusty bread and a green, leafy salad, it can be lunch, an appetizer, or the main feature in a no-cook dinner. There are even some terrific dessert options. Cold soups come in two types -- uncooked and chilled, or cooked and chilled. A big plus is that they free the cook from last-minute preparation, since they require several hours of chilling and should be made hours or even a day in advance. Serve in chilled clear bowls or cups for a pretty effect.
What is a Spanish soup doing in a listing of Eastern European dishes? Well, as the world gets smaller due to modern transportation, ethnic cuisine spreads like wildfire. Eastern Europe is on the cutting edge of modern international cuisine and gazpacho is creeping into its repertoire and can be found on the restaurant menus of many major cities.
Barszcz is the Polish generic term for any sour soup. Beet barszcz and white barszcz, made with kielbasa-cooking water, are the most common. This magenta-colored soup can be served warm or cold garnished with sour cream, dill and julienned beets, if desired.
Hungarisn chilled summer squash soup can be made with summer yellow crookneck squash or yellow zucchini, and lots of fragrant, fresh dill. Here's more about squash varieties.
Dill also takes a starring role in this Bulgarian cold cucumber soup recipe. But this refresher also features walnuts, garlic and bread.
Polish strawberry soup is another instance of a fruit soup that can be eaten hot or cold. Serve with noodles or croutons and a garnish of sour cream, if desired.
The Mediterranean influence is felt in this Balkan chilled eggplant soup which features roasted veggies, good-quality olive oil, garlic and buttermilk.
Hungarian sour cherry soup is traditionally made with tart dark-red Morello cherries, but a tart pie cherry, like fire-engine-red Montmorency cherries, will do in a pinch. In Hungary, cold sour cherry soup is served as a starter course, but in the United States, it often appears as a dessert, like the cold peach soup, below.
This cream of green bean soup recipe can be served hot or chilled. The Hungarian paprika gives it a pleasant pinkish color.
This Polish beer soup recipe can be served warm on a cold day or cold, to beat the dog days of summer. The alcohol cooks out and leaves the soup with that sour tang beloved of Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Russians.