Cool and Tangy Rhubarb-Beet Borscht
The brilliant magenta of this soup will make you swoon. Serve as an appetite-awakening first course or for a lovely light lunch, accompanied by an assortment of rye crackers and a crisp green salad. Look for lebni, or kefir cheese, at a Middle Eastern market.
- Put beets in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Put a lid on pan, and cook beets over medium heat until completely tender, for about 18 minutes. Drain beets, reserving cooking water.
- Put rhubarb into a saucepan, and add 1/2 cup cooking water from beets. Cover, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is very tender. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
- When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off skins, and cut beets into chunks. Put beets, cucumber, rhubarb, lebni and 3/4 cup cooking water from beets into food processor, and pur8Ee until very smooth.
- Transfer soup to a large bowl, and add more beet cooking liquid if desired to thin soup. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, and top with spoonfuls of lebni and a sprinkling of red onion, if desired.
Pairing wines with tart rhubarb is hard, but this tangy soup calls for a lush white wine such as the Domaines Schlumberger Riesling from the Alsatian region in France.