Welcome to this month's kosher linkup! The challenge this month is cold soup. In the distant past I've made vichyssoise (French for "fancy-schmancy cold potato soup"), but past recipes don't count today. I've never got around to posting my version of gazpacho, but figured it would be a popular choice, so I went with something a little different: cucumber-yogurt soup.
Many recipes on the intertubes flavor this refreshing soup with dill. I tried it once and to me, dill makes it taste like watered-down tzatziki sauce. So I went with the more unusual suggestion of cilantro.
This soup was served alongside a chicken dinner, so I made it with parve coconut yogurt instead. Might also be gluten-free, but I forgot to check the label for that. Soy yogurt can be used, but its flavor is rather pronounced. Coconut yogurt, however, is much milder tasting and I really recommend it here. Feel free to substitute standard bovine yogurt (of the Greek persuasion) if you prefer a dairy version.
The is a very easy recipe. I used English cucumber, which has a very thin edible skin and not coated with wax like an ordinary cuke. It also has tiny seeds which don't need to be scraped out. And since everything pretty much gets tossed into the processor, virtually all of the preliminary chopping does not have to be pretty or uniform sized.
The hardest part of this recipe is toasting the walnuts. While with some recipes I get lazy and skip the toasting part, it should not be skipped here. Chilling tends to mute flavors. You want to coax maximum flavor out of every ingredient. So use toasted walnuts (see this recipe here where I show how to toast pine nuts ... same difference). By the way, be sure to let the nuts cool down before continuing with the directions (otherwise that sizzle you hear coming out the food processor will be the walnuts cooking the yogurt). And be sure to use fresh cilantro, stems as well as leaves. That bottled dried stuff is essentially green tissue paper, but with less flavor.
As for the quantities, the amounts of spices I suggest here are the bare minimum. Taste, then add more of everything to taste. For example, I wound up adding an extra teaspoon or so of kosher salt and an extra light shake of pepper. However, I didn't adjust the recipe shown just in case your idea of pepper is to gently wave the shaker next to the bowl so that you wouldn't faint at the amounts I ended up using.
Chilled Parve Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Cilantro and Walnuts - Easy
Yield: 4 servings
1 English cucumber
1 (6 oz.) bag chopped walnuts, toasted and cooled, divided
1 lightly packed cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
2 (6 ounce) containers plain parve coconut yogurt
2 tsp. chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup plain seltzer or water
|Dice 'em a little smaller than this.|
Slice the cucumber into 4 chunks. Finely dice one of the chunks and set aside for garnish. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the walnuts for garnish as well.
Coarsely chop the remaining cucumber chunks, then place in the food processor. Add the remaining walnuts plus the cilantro, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
Process 1 minute until smooth, or less if you prefer a more chunky soup. Pour in seltzer or water and process another 10 seconds. Taste and add more garlic, lemon juice, salt and/or pepper if needed.
Transfer soup to a covered container and refrigerate at least 1 hour, to thoroughly chill and for the flavors to "marry." Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with the diced cucumber and remaining chopped walnuts before serving.