Cold Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Dill

Cold Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Dill

Some crops are so prolific that their yield outstrips their uses. Late summer zucchini comes to mind. Cucumbers are another. Make sure to check out the end of this recipe for more things to do with cucumbers. (On the other hand, you can never have too many tomatoes.) This easy recipe uses the classic combination of cucumbers, yogurt and dill as a basis for a cold, chunky and refreshing warm weather soup. We made an even simpler version of this soup in the early days of Frog that used only cucumbers, yogurt, water, dill, salt and pepper. Here I have added an undercurrent of red wine vinegar and a little olive oil. For a small variation, don’t mix the olive oil into the soup — as the recipe instructs, but instead drizzle a very fine olive oil on top of each serving as a nice added garnishing touch.

Do ahead You can make soup two to three days in advance and store in refrigerator.

6 medium to large whole cucumbers, about 3 pounds
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill plus about 1/4 cup larger torn dill leaves for garnish
2 cups whole milk plain yogurt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon quality red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 thinly sliced radishes, optional garnish
2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

1 . Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scape out seeds and discard. Cut half cucumbers into a few pieces each. Place in work bowl of food processor. Process until smooth puree.
2 . Cut balance of cucumbers into long, thin strips. Line into piles and cut across into cubes. Dice into small cubes — 1/4 to 1/8th inch.
3 . In a large bowl, combine yogurt, vinegar, olive oil and mix well. Add pureed cucumber, diced cucumber, garlic, red onion, 1/2 cup dill, salt and pepper.
4 . Adjusting consistency: Soup should have consistency of half and half. The chunks of cucumber should be prevalent, but this is a soup and not a salsa. Gradually add a little water until it reaches right consistency.  It will thicken as it chills and you can always add a touch more water if it seems too thick after it chills. But once you add the water, it’s impossible to go back and you will have to serve a thin soup.
5 . Chill until very cold, at least two hours. Check for salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with feathery sprigs of dill in spread on the top. For optional garnish, place 5-6 overlapping radish slices in center.

Yield 6-7 cups serving 6

Simple to make with relatively few ingredients. Use plain whole milk yogurt. I used Greek yogurt, but that is not necessary. In fact, the next time I make this I will not use Greek yogurt.

Regardless of how you use them, cucumbers are always better if you scrape out the seeds – — except for whole pickled cucumbers. Cut peeled cucumbers in half lengthwise and with a spoon and scrape out the seeds as seen on the “upper” cucumber.

To cut cucumbers or other vegetables into small cubes, start by cutting long, thin strips. Then cut across the strips to make cubes.

Here are cubes that I felt were a bit too large.

So I diced the cucumbers more until they were fairly uniform and the size I wanted.

I chopped all my cucumbers and then divided them into equal piles and pureed one pile. But then I decided it made more sense to take half the cucumbers before chopping and cut them into “food processor-friendly” chunks. Since I was going to puree half the cucumbers, there was no reason to dice this half — extra work. This re-think is reflected in the recipe above. Please note the dough scrapper that I consider an essential “prep tool.” For more on how to make your prep work easier, see At Home Page 21 -  Setting Up for Prep and Cooking.

A Note about the chopped garlic: Chop the garlic very fine. I love garlic. When I made this soup Christina expressed the concern that maybe it had too much garlic for a dinner party so I backed off the garlic a little in the recipe. Regardless of your garlic preferences, this is raw garlic and you don’t want your guest biting into a big piece. So don’t skimp on the garlic but especially don’t skimp on the chopping. See At Home Page 39 for tips on making chopping garlic  easy.

Here’s the finished soup. Make sure it spends at least two hours in the refrigerator before serving. It will thicken more as it chills so adjust with a touch of cold water if needed. Also, the colder something is, the more salt it needs so check for salt.

And here it is ready to be served. Note the over-lapping slices of radish and the feathery leaves of dill.

Some other things to do with cucumbers:
Cucumbers with Lime Salt  See At Home Page 67
Cucumber red onion salad  See At Home Page 255
Asian Cucumber Salsa  See At Home Page 210
Sauteed cucumbers with garlic and mint – peel and seed cucumbers and cut into “batons”
Vietnamese pickled cucumber slices  See At Home Page 219  Substite sliced cucumbers for dikon
Pickles with Kirby cucumbers  See At Home Note on Pickling on Page 220
Pimm’s #1 Cup Cocktail  – a wonderful summer cocktail that we are serving at a party on July 17th
Cucumber Vodka  — vodka infused with cucumber — and Cucumber Cooler  See At Home Page 52

Maple Acres Pickling Demonstration
Speaking of what to do with cucumbers, Maple Acres is holding a “Pickling Demonstration” on Saturday, July 3rd at 11:00 AM. I love pickling and think it is very underused by home entertainers. (I always keep a container of Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon in my refrigerator.) So, this Saturday is a good day to visit Maple Acres.

New Blog Recipe Index
If you are not reading the blog on the blog site you are missing out on lots of features including a better looking blog. It’s easy to get to the blog site by just clicking on the blog title. We have recently added tags that enable you to search blogs that might interest you. And today we added a Recipe Index that provides an easy way to locate the nearly 80 recipes that have been featured in the blog since it started about a year ago. Use the Recipe Index to check-out the Cold Corn Soup and other recipes from last summer. This July 4th Weekend there should be lots of fresh local corn around.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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3 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Tips

3 responses to “Cold Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Dill

  1. In the interest of lowering the fat content–try fat free or low fat organic plain yogurt. The organic yogurts tend to have more body than non-organic, and of course, little or no fat.

  2. Ken Hutchins

    I definitely will try this variation. For those that have some stomach reaction to red onions, I sometimes substitute shallots for red onions.

    The greek style yogurt should give a slightly different consistency than using “regular” yogurt. There are low / no fat greek options available, and they may also include organic, I’m think of the Stoneyfield Okris option (I think that is their brand of greek style yogurt).

    While I never made it to Frog (limited myself to Commissary and Eden), my first experience with cold cucumber soups in the 1970s were at the original La Terrasse and the Salad Bar that was located near 16th and Walnut St where Alma de Cuba is located today.

    I really like the near step by step photos showing the method.

  3. Pingback: Four Weddings, a Graduation and a Funeral « At Home By Steve Poses Blog

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