Soups are a staple in every Russian household and there are many different types of hot and cold soups that are prepared throughout the year. But the best one for summer is okroshka with kvass.
The soup is made of chopped vegetables and cooked meats in a base of kvass or yogurt.
Cucumbers and radishes
Okroshka is one of the most beloved and easy-to-make Russian summer soups. It consists of diced raw vegetables, boiled potatoes, eggs and cooked meat.
The name okroshka comes from the Russian verb kroshit’, meaning crumble into small pieces — and that is exactly what this dish is all about. Culinary historians believe that okroshka first appeared on the Volga River as a meal for barge haulers who were given dried fish and kvass for lunch. Kvass kept well and was a refreshing drink in the heat.
Choose cucumbers with smooth skin and radishes with long roots that aren’t too crunchy. Cut all ingredients into very fine cubes. Leave a few of the eggs whole to garnish the soup at the end. The kefir and kvass should be well drained and cooled to prevent the soup from curdling.
As an added bonus, potatoes provide a sense of substance and fullness to this light summer soup. You can easily omit them if you want to make it low carb.
Place the peeled, diced eggs, cucumbers, radishes, and sausage in a large pot or bowl. Finely chop the dill and green onions, and add to the mix.
In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, cold water and vinegar. Stir until the sour cream is liquefied. Add the sour cream mixture to the other ingredients in the pot and mix well. Refrigerate the soup until serving time. Serve with a slice of rye bread on the side. This is a refreshing, tasty dinner for the whole family. It is especially energizing after a long walk in the hot Russian summer!
In addition to the crunchy vegetables and sour cream base, this soup has eggs and ham. This gives it enough substance to be a filling dinner. Eggs are a good source of protein and have been shown to help with weight loss.
The shell of an egg is a fascinating piece of engineering, being both a barrier and semi-permeable. The membrane that surrounds it is made of a tough and elastic material called collagen, with small pores for air and moisture to pass through.
Add spring onion, unrefined oil and rye bread. Chop all ingredients finely and stir into sour cream base. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight before serving. Serve with a slice of dark rye bread on the side.
Kvass is a low-alcoholic, fermented drink made from black or rye bread that has been cooked. It has always been a popular “people’s drink” in Russia. Grandmothers and wives often brew it in their homes. It was an important beverage for farmers, as it kept well without refrigeration and provided much needed nutrients and probiotics.
In later versions of this soup, kefir was used as the base instead of kvass. It is healthy and tasty. It contains no processed meat (like bologna) so it is also good for dieting.
This recipe for okroshka with kefir is simple and easy to make. You just have to put some boiled potatoes, cucumbers and radishes, a few eggs and smetana (Russian-style sour cream) into the kefir and chill it for two days.
Dill is a herb and a spice that’s found in cuisines around the world. It works well with root vegetables, including carrots and fennel; celery, with which it shares a family heritage; summer foods such as corn and tomatoes; and rich creamy bases like mayonnaise or sour cream.
The leaves have a strong flavor, and the seeds are milder and more delicate. Dill is easy to grow in gardens and is a beautiful addition to any landscape. It attracts beneficial insects and is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies.
Okroshka with Kvass is a refreshing, nourishing meal that’s perfect for hot weather. It’s also made with healthy ingredients like kefir, a milk-based fermented beverage. Instead of processed meat like bologna, lean cooked chicken or grass-fed ham can be added to this dish. Okruschka