Cold Beet & Cherry Borscht

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Cherries and beets and borscht, oh my! The interplay of beets & cherries, along with a bit o’honey and the pucker of lemon, make it very nice indeed.

 

2 medium beets (8 ounces each), scrubbed
1 cinnamon stick
21⁄2 cups unsweetened sour cherry juice or natural (unsweetened) pomegranate juice
4 ounces (2⁄3 cup) fresh cherries (or frozen, defrosted), stemmed, pitted, and halved
21⁄2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
11⁄2 teaspoons honey
1⁄4 cup sour cream or labaneh

Lemon zest, for serving

 

Cover the beets with water in a medium pot, add the cinnamon stick, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beets can be pierced with a skewer but aren’t mushy, 20 to 25 minutes.

 

Drain, discard the cinnamon stick, cool the beets for 5 minutes, place them in a plastic bag, and freeze for 20 minutes.

 

Remove the beets from the freezer, slide the skins off with a paper towel and discard, and grate on the large side of a box grater into a medium bowl (you should have about 1 cup grated beets).

 

Stir in the sour cherry juice, cherries, lemon juice, and honey; cover and chill to let the flavors meld for at least 2 hours and up to 24. Taste the soup, and if it’s too sweet for you, add a little more lemon juice until you’ve got the sweet-tart combination you love.

 

Divide among bowls, and top each bowl with a dollop of sour cream/labaneh and a grating of lemon zest.