Beet It

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I had the pleasure of living in Krakow, Poland, for an entire month this summer. I was studying but still managed to enjoy all the wonderful stuff on offer when it comes to bars and good food. One of my absolute favourite things was the chlodnik (a cold vegetable soup not unlike gazpacho) I ate twice at Alchemia od kuchni, an unassumingly hipster-ish add-on to my favourite bar, Alchemia. A slightly modernized version of chlodnik, the Alchemia od kuchni version had beetroot and watermelon in it, with the customary sour cream/yoghurt making the pureed, cold mixture velvety. When I got home and the Finnish summer still had some warm evenings up its sleeve, I had to attempt a recreation! I, of course, had nothing but the memory engraved on my taste buds to go on.

But here’s what I did:

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I took one sixth (or so) of a watermelon and one small red onion, chopped them into chunks and tossed in a blender. To add the right acidity to the chlodnik, I used pickled beetroot slices. A few of them, about as much as one actual beetroot would yield. A dollop of natural yoghurt and two table spoons of Russian style sour cream (smetana) followed, along with the juice of half a lemon. I also added salt and black pepper to taste and a splash of chicken stock for depth (could have used vegetable stock but didn’t have any at home).

Blended. And yay! Got it right! It’s best when chilled well in the fridge.

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Vary the amount of beetroot and yoghurt/sour cream to suit your taste. I like mine quite beetrooty.

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