Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Estonian zucchini and cheese soup
Being one of the very few English-language blogs that focus on Estonian food (among other things), I tend to get quite a few emails with Estonian recipe requests or more general enquiries about Estonian food. Usually they are from people who have visited Estonia and tasted something they liked (KAMA!!!), and are now looking to recreate the dish at home. There are also quite a few expat Estonians writing to ask about dishes their grandmother used to make them in the US/Australia/etc when they were younger. Or people whose fiancée, husband, wife, adopted child, neighbour or best friend is of Estonian heritage and they'd love to make them something from Estonian culinary repertoire to surprise the given fiancée, husband, wife, adopted child, neighbour or best friend. I love those letters!
Here's an email I got last August:
I was just searching for Estonian Cheese Soup after hearing it mentioned in this story on NPR. Surprisingly, I couldn't find anything about it, but it brought me to your website and I just spent an hour going through it's great pictures and recipes. Great site!
Do you have any idea on what soup that may be? I'd love to whip one up.
Keep up the great work and thanks in advance for any help or leads you have for me.
Estonian cheese soup? I was baffled. I wasn't entirely sure there is such a thing. Sure, we make various soups with addition of cheese. I've blogged about a simple goat cheese and beet soup and creamy fish soup that both have some cheese in it. However, there's nothing particularly Estonian about these two soups. So I asked around and it turns out that I'm a lousy pub-goer. You see, many Estonian pubs serve something called cheese soup (juustusupp), apparently. And as I'm more of a café-chick than a pub-girl, I had no idea.
Basically, these are simple soups that have been enriched with either cheese spread (sulatatud juust) or smoked cheese (suitsujuust). Back in August, when I was trying to come up with a soup recipe for Gavin, I made this courgette/zucchini soup with smoked cheese (the type of smoked cheese we use in Estonia looks like this:
It weighs 280 g and contains 18% milk fats) and is nowadays produced by Tere AS.
I hope you'll enjoy this, Gavin!
Courgette and Smoked Cheese Soup, Estonian style
a dash of olive oil
1 large potato
1 medium green zucchini/courgette
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
280 g smoked cheese (preferably Estonian)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
parsley and croutons, to serve
Peel the onion and potato, chop finely and sauté in some oil for a few minutes. When the potato is slightly golden, then add chopped-up zucchini/courgette (no need to peel). Heat for a few minutes, stirring every now and then.
Add the hot stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to the simmer and let it bubble until the vegetables are soft.
Blend until smooth, adding the chunks of smoked cheese to the soup while doing this.
Re-heat gently, season to taste.
Garnish with crispy bread croutons and a parsley leaf.