14 May 2012

Chłodnik, A Cold Soup

Chłodnik (pronounced Hwod-nyeek) means along the lines of "cooler" or "thing that cools you". Chłodny means cool (temperature wise) and adding the k at the end (which means you change the y into an i) turns the meaning of the word into a soup that cools you.

Think Gazpacho but with Polish ingredients and flavor. 

Yesterday, the temperatures climbed up into the 80s.  This entire week should have temperatures in the 70s and 80s, so it's time to pull out refreshing and nutritious recipes that can cool us off and keep us fueled for playing outside, such as this soup.

Chłodnik is such a simple dish that apart from the beet, there is no cooking.  It's perfect for days when you don't want to heat up the house or yourself in order to feed your family.

Chłodnik is full of flavors that represent the Polish Kuchnia (pronounced KooH-nyah and meaning kitchen) and cooking style.

One interesting thing to point out with this soup is that there are many varieties of it, depending on each family's recipe. 

A great many make this soup using the beet greens as well, finely shredded and blanched for about 3 minutes. 

Additional Options:
  • Serve this soup with a dollop of sour cream on top
  • Make this soup with more buttermilk if you like
  • Add a bit of lemon juice if you want a more sour flavor, but it's not necessary.
  • Use up the remaining canned beets from the year before in your pantry while you wait for your baby beets to be ripe enough in your garden, local farmers market or grocery store.
  • Add good Polish dill pickles
  • Add raw finely diced garlic cloves
  • Substitute Kefir for the Buttermilk

My two children lap this soup up every time.  I tell them it's Pink Polish princess soup.  My Tato loves this soup for really hot days.  My American husband also really enjoys this soup, even though he thought I shouldn't make it because nobody would eat it, before he ate a very large soup of it in the blink of an eye.


1-3 fresh Baby Beets
1-2 Pickling Cucumbers
4 Radishes
1/2 cup finely chopped Chives
1/4 cup fresh Dill, finely chopped
1 cups Buttermilk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
3-4 Boiled Eggs, to garnish

good Polish Dill Pickles
Sour Cream
Garlic, finely diced
Lemon Juice

Remove tops.  If using in soup, wash well, finely shred in 1 inch strips.  Place in almost boiling water for about 3 minutes and immediately place in an ice bath.  Drain and set aside in the large bowl which you will use to serve in.

Scrub and peel the baby beets.  Place in pot, cover with water and cook.  Make sure not to actually boil the water but rather keep it at the point when it's about to bubble.  Cook until completely tender.  You can actually do this part ahead of time in the morning when the outside temperature still is cool.

Using a grater, or with a knife, coarsely shred the beets, cucumbers and radishes.

Add everything to a serving bowl and stir. 

Garnish with sliced boiled eggs and some dill or chives on top, if you like.


Polish Mama Nutrition:

Cucumbers are full of electrolytes to help replenish lost moisture in the heat.

Cucumbers are usually about 20 degrees cooler on the inside than the outside temperature.

Beets are said to potentially help fight cancer, heal nerve damage in diabetics, aid in detoxifying the body, protect against heart disease, birth defects, etc.

Beets are loaded with fiber.

All of these items added together with the other ingredients means that you are fueling your body with lots of nutrients and helping your body stay healthy. A healthy body can regulate it's core temperature better in almost any weather than an unhealthy body.

Related Posts:

Polish Cold Carrot Salad

Polish Strawberry Bread


Anonymous said...

I Love CHŁODNIK. Any kind. They are so refreshing and light!

Polish Mama on the Prairie said...

Chłodnik is the best :)