soup’s on

Cherry soup. Maybe those aren’t two words you think of together. The cherry can carry a completely different flavor as a soup. A cold soup. It’s the perfect dish for a scorching summer night. This cherry soup, a crisp salad, and a rustic loaf of bread, are a menu you should have in your recipe box.

Cherry soup is a classic staple of Hungarian kitchens. It  features a tart cherry. Like Morello or Montromency cherries. It calls for a considerable amout of sugar. And cream. The soup can be served as everything from an appetizer to a dessert. The large amount of sugar is an effort to offset the tartness of the cherries. If you want to cut the amount of sugar used in the recipe — start with using sweeter cherries.

For this recipe, the cherries of choice are the Bing cherries that are flowing out of their baskets at the market these days.

Begin with some olive oil in a pan. Place a few slices of onion and  a garlic bulb in the pan before you put a flame under it. Putting an ingredient in oil before it is heated allows the flavor to slowly be picked up by the oil. Once the onion looks wilted, remove the onion and garlic, leaving the flavor behind. Remove the pan from the flame and allow oil to cool.

Add the cherries to the pan when the oil is room temperature and stir. Empty contents into a blender and puree. When the mixture is smooth, transfer to a bowl.

The creamy texture of the cherry soup in this recipe does not come from a light or heavy cream. Greek yogurt gives this soup the presence of a creamy texture. It cuts the sweetness of the cherries. Add a bit of kosher salt and lemon juice.

Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours. This allows the ingredients to mingle together and become a chilled soup. The taste of the ingredients becomes more pronounced when they are chilled. Even better, let the soup chill for a full 24 hours.

When the temperature is climbing, the cold cherry soup is a refreshing addition to the dinner menu. The deep cherry flavor mixes with the lightness of the yogurt. A dollop of sour cream adds some zip to the soup. Slice some basil leaves and scatter on top. Want to make sure this soup delivers all its cooling comfort?

Chill the serving bowls several hours before dinner. Beat the heat. Jump in the pool. Dive in a bowl of this soup. See you tomorrow.

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