Summer Borscht with Tzatziki


The cold temperature of this beautifully purple beet soup makes it a perfect foil for swelteringly hot days.


  • 2 pounds medium beets (about 5) without tops, scrubbed

  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus 8 small sprigs for garnish

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • Tzatziki Sauce


  1. Place beets in a medium saucepan, and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

  2. Remove beets with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid. Let beets cool, about 20 minutes. Strain cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, and refrigerate, covered, until chilled, about 2 hours. Peel beets, and cut into 1/4-inch dice.

  3. Whisk together stock, sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice, the salt, and 1 1/2 cups cooled beet liquid in a large bowl. Stir in beets, cucumber, and dill. Season with pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to 1 day).

  4. Stir soup, then divide among 8 bowls. Spoon 1 tablespoon tzatziki onto each serving, and top each with a dill sprig.

Cook's Notes

Because the size of beets varies greatly, watch the cooking time carefully. Start checking them after 40 minutes, but know that the beets could take more than an hour to become tender. No matter what size beet is used, they don't vary much in quality.

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