Dorata’s Cold + Creamy Beet Soup (Chlodnik)

Cold + Creamy Beet Soup (Chlodnik)

Making soup is simple, but there are some who make truly fantastic soup, and my friend Dorata is one of them. She’s been doing my hair for over 20 years, and every time I see her we spend all our time talking about food. Eventually I convinced her to invite me over, and she fed me this brilliant pink chilled beet borscht (and a thick, creamy white borscht too, and peroghies, and croquettes, and crepes…), something you can make by just throwing stuff in, she says. Except that hers somehow comes out tasting unbelievably delicious. I’ve never really appreciated the appeal of cold soup, until I tried Dorata’s on a 30 degree day – it’s like a creamy bowl of salad I just wanted to pick up and drink like a savoury smoothie.

Dorata & beets

Since the markets are loaded with beets right now, and yet it’s hot enough to still feel like summer, it seemed a good time to make a batch. “Just look it up,” she told me – of course like all good cooks, she follows her instincts rather than a recipe. Most cold borscht is made with tangy buttermilk and sour cream, and I’m a fan of the addition of dill pickles to soup. Beyond the beets (buy them with their greens, if you can, and use them too), the veggies tend to be the crunchy, juicy kind you’d normally see in salads, on sandwiches and crudité platters – snappy cucumbers and peppery radishes. But I imagine you could draw inspiration from your garden and the farmers’ market, or just use what you like.

Cold + Creamy Beet Soup (Chlodnik)
Cold + Creamy Beet Soup (Chlodnik)

Dorata’s Cold + Creamy Beet Soup (Chlodnik)


September 27, 2017


2-3 beets, peeled and coarsely grated

chicken or vegetable stock or water

1/2 large (or 2 small) cucumbers, finely chopped or coarsely grated

1 dill pickle, finely chopped or coarsely grated

a few radishes, finely chopped

a few green onions, finely chopped

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

salt and pepper, to taste

Vegata, if you have it, to taste

chopped fresh dill and/or chives

hard boiled eggs, halved, for serving


1Place the beets in a medium pot or Dutch oven. If there are greens still attached, wash and chop them (and the stems) and add them to the pot too. Cover with water or stock and bring to a simmer; cook until the beets are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

2Stir in the cucumbers, pickle, radishes, green onions, buttermilk and sour cream, and add more stock if the soup seems thick. Season with salt and pepper and Vegata, if you have it. Stir in some dill and/or chives, saving some to sprinkle on top. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or for up to a few days.

3Serve well chilled, garnished with hard boiled egg halves. Serves 4.


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5 comments on “Dorata’s Cold + Creamy Beet Soup (Chlodnik)

  1. Aušra
    September 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Hello, I am from Lithuania. We produce this soup summer, it’s a traditional Lithuanian dish, although it’s only made for about 50 years, we call cold beetles soup (šaltibarš?iai) . Chopped beetroot (not just cooked),sour milk(it is only in Lithuania or Poland) or buttermilk, or boiled water (one by one), sour cream, boiled eggs, cucumber, onion leaves and dill , salt. Skanaus 🙂

    • Julie
      October 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      That sounds amazing!!

  2. esme
    September 28, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    OOOOH! I am going to give this a try. Thanks, Julie!

  3. Anonymous
    November 28, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Delicious home-cooked beet soup, Polish or Lithuanian-style, hot or cold, is my absolute favorite soup. It’s deliciousness is incomparable!

    • Julie
      November 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Isn’t it amazing? And I just love the colour!

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