Russian chilled blackberry soup

17/07/2020

It is looking like a great year for blackberries. The bushes near me have plenty of fruits forming, though most aren’t ripe yet. This year I have been testing potential recipes for inclusion in my forthcoming book, and this one is so good that I couldn’t wait to share it with people. Makvlis supi is a traditional Russian/Georgian/Polish dish, and quite unlike anything else I’ve ever had, but it is well worth the mess and effort of making it. It is served as a starter.

You will need a good source of lush blackberries. Note that all blackberries are not the same – there are hundreds of microspecies, all with slightly different characteristics, including the size and taste of the berries. Fortunately for us, the best patch I know of locally is less than a minute’s walk from my front door, but also at a very quiet and little-known location at the end of a cul-de-sac. The berries here ripen earlier than any others locally, and are also bigger and juicier. The best blackberries from any bush are at the end of the stem, and ripen first. This one has already been taken from those pictured here — the others don’t ripen until it has gone, which makes for a less attractive photo.

Ingredients:

500g fresh blackberries, finely chopped herbs (50g coriander, 5g mint, large sprig of fresh thyme), 1 small onion (finely chopped), 1 garlic clove (finely chopped), 1 small cucumber (peeled, seeds removed and diced), 1 tsp wine vinegar, salt to taste and sour cream to serve.

Method: Put the blackberries in bowl and crush and strain to obtain the thick juice. Add water to make this up to 900ml of liquid, and then add all the other ingredients apart from the sour cream. Add salt to taste and chill for several hours.  Serve with sour cream, which can either be left in lumps or mixed well into the soup.

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