This cold cucumber-dill soup has a surprisingly seductive taste. The secret is that both the broth and the yogurt garnish are loaded with fresh (never dried) dill and chives. Serve as a starter or a light lunch entree. The recipe calls for "handfuls" of herbs; if you are relying on the grocery store instead of the garden or farmers' market, you'll need about one large bunch or one to two 2- to 3-ounce packets.
Chilly Dilly Cucumber Soup
Active Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes (including 3 hours chilling time)
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled waxy, thin-skinned potatoes (such as red or Yukon Gold, not russets)
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower or 1/2 cup additional chopped peeled potatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large handful whole fresh dill sprigs (including stems), plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill leaves, plus small sprigs for garnish
1 handful whole fresh chives, plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
1 cup low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups finely diced seeded peeled cucumber, plus thin half-moon slices for garnish
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine broth, potatoes, cauliflower (or additional potato) and celery in a large saucepan. Lay the whole dill and chives on top. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat so it boils briskly and cook until the vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until cooled slightly.
Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup each chopped dill and chives with yogurt in a food processor. Process until the herbs are finely chopped and the mixture is slightly green. Transfer half the mixture to a bowl; cover and refrigerate to use later as a garnish. Leave the remainder in the processor.
Using a fork, lift off and discard the herbs from the pan. Transfer the vegetables to the processor with a slotted spoon (leave the broth in the pan). Add butter; process until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Add diced cucumber to the broth. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the cucumber is just cooked through but still slightly crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Thoroughly stir the pureed vegetables into the cucumber mixture. Season with pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
Serve the soup with a dollop of the reserved herbed yogurt. Garnish with small sprigs of dill, chopped chives and/or half-slices of cucumber, if desired.
To Make Ahead: Prepare through Step 4, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Per serving: 106 calories; 3 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 9 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 6 g protein; 1 g fiber; 491 mg sodium; 506 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (20 percent daily value)
1 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat
(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at http://www.eatingwell.com.)