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. Slideshow: Delicious Chilled SoupsRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 

Chilled Sour Cherry Soup with Fennel & Sour Cream
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
6 to 8


  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or grapeseed oil (plus more for drizzling)

  • 1 cup onion (finely chopped)

  • 1 cup fennel bulb (/2 pound finely chopped)

  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen sour cherries (pitted, plus more for garnish)

  • ¾ cup buttermilk

  • ½ 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.

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