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Chilled Sour Cherry Soup with Fennel & Sour Cream

Traditional Hungarian chilled sour cherry soup is sweet enough to be a dessert. Nicolaus Balla blends fennel into his more savory version and serves the beautiful pink soup as a first course. "Fennel might be my favorite vegetable," he says.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or grapeseed oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb (1/2 pound)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen sour cherries, pitted, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Chopped dill and parsley, for garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, fennel, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a blender and let cool.
  2. Add the 1 pound of sour cherries, the buttermilk, sour cream, sugar and 1/2 cup of water to the blender and puree until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle lightly with oil. Garnish with dill, parsley and a few cherries and serve.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated overnight.

Contributed By Photo © Christina Holmes Published July 2013

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