As our garden yields a profusion of cucumbers, slices in salads quickly become monotonous. I’ve tried cutting spears for vegetable dips, tossing cubes into smoothies, and making batches of blender gazpacho. Too bad I don’t like pickles! Americans have grown cucumbers in their gardens since the 17th century English colonies. Only in the 19th century did people begin stewing cucumbers, as cooked vegetables were supposedly easier to digest. Chilled cucumber soup combines the best of both ideas – cooking and coolness. This recipe comes from Donna Segal of the Indianapolis Star in Food Editors’ Favorites Cookbook (Hammond, 1983). Its pale green color and velvety texture stands up well to any kind of herb garnish.
Chilled Cucumber Soup (1980s)
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including some tops
- 2 cups diced, seeded cucumber (approximately 1 large cucumber)
- 1 cup watercress or leaf spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup peeled and diced potatoes (approximately 1 medium potato)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup light or heavy cream [I omitted this as the soup seemed thin enough]
- Thinly sliced radishes for garnish
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the green onions and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes, being sure not to brown the butter or onions. Add the cucumber, watercress, potato, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Cool slightly.
- Puree in a blender, adding 1 1/2 cups of mixture at a time [I used an immersion blender]. Put in a large bowl and stir in the cream. Cover and chill thoroughly for several hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, float several thin radish slices atop each serving.
- Note: Other garnishes might be a sprinkle of paprika or curry powder, chopped chives, or a cucumber slice. [I used dill].