Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Creamy Cucumber Soup

When it comes to cucumbers, I've pretty much only eaten them raw or turned them into pickles. When it comes to cucumbers and soup I think gazpacho, so this recipe was a departure from many of culinary inclinations. Although it does require you to fire up the stove for just a little bit, this soup is perfect for summer because it's wonderful cool, warm, or at room temperature. Cucumbers on their own aren't bursting with flavor, but they form a delicious fresh base that eagerly soaks up the garlic, onion, and spices. Avocado and yogurt make the soup extra creamy without becoming too rich for hot weather, though I'd recommend holding off on stirring in the yogurt if you plan on freezing any leftovers. I also think this soup would work well with zucchini in place of the cucumber, a quick way to use up that often overwhelming summer bounty in healthy quantities. Whether an elegant first course at summer dinner party or simply a workday lunch, this healthy and tasty soup is a perfect choice all summer long.

Creamy Cucumber Soup
adapted from Eating Well
serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, reduced-sodium chicken broth, or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt or sour cream

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 3/4 cups cucumber slices, broth, salt, pepper and cayenne; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the cucumbers are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Transfer the soup to a blender. Add avocado and parsley; blend on low speed until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour into a serving bowl and stir in yogurt. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup cucumber slices. Serve the soup warm or refrigerate and serve it chilled. Just before serving, garnish with the chopped cucumber and more chopped parsley, if desired.

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