Summer is that little window of time where I enjoy cold dishes such as this chilled cucumber and mint soup (as well as vichysoisse, a chilled potato and leek soup). Served with smoked salmon and/or prawns, a mixed greens avocado olive salad, crusty baguette, lashings of olive oil and a glass of rosé, such a meal is an equally refreshing and satisfying means of ending a long, hot day. And, in its iconic coolness, it might even be the anchor for evoking memories of those beloved summer nights - rather necessary when we're in the grueling heart of winter, isn't it?
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Chilling time: at least 3 hours to overnight
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 white or yellow onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 4 Lebanese cucumbers or 2 regular cucumbers, sliced
- 20 coriander seeds, crushed
- 1L chicken or vegetable stock, hot
- small bunch of mint, stems removed
- juice of 1 lime
- 200g single cream
- salt and pepper
- garnish options: chopped cucumber, diced onion, mint leaves. Try some red onion and/or radish for a colour contrast. Drizzle with olive oil.
Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a large pot, wooden spoon, chopping board, etc.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the onion, stirring regularly for 5 minutes or until the onion visibly softens.
- Add the cucumber, garlic and coriander seeds and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the hot chicken stock. Bring the lot to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the mint leaves, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let it cool until it's safe to blend. Blend until smooth or to your liking.
- Chill for at least 3 hours to overnight.
- Just before serving, incorporate the cream. Season with salt and pepper - taste until the balance is right for you. Garnish and then serve.
- I use the entire cucumber (to cut down on food waste) but you can peel the cucumbers and remove the seeds if you want a smoother finish. You'll have to be diligent about removing the stems of the mint leaves too, though.
- If you want a thicker or thinner consistency, adjust the amount of stock you use the next time you make this. Perhaps 800ml if you want something thicker, or 1.2 liters for something thinner. The quality of the cucumbers (in terms of their water content) will also contribute to the end result.
- If you feel like your soup is missing something, try add the juice of another lime, or if you don't have another lime on hand, mix in dashes of white vinegar until the taste lifts.