Meggyleves

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(Hungarian sour cherry soup)

Sour cherry soup is enjoyed by Hungarian families as cherries come into season in late spring and early summer. Each family has its own favorite recipe. Also known as meggykeszőce.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Water -- 4 cups
  • Sugar -- 1 cup
  • Cinnamon stick -- 1
  • Sour cherries, pitted -- 4 cups
  • Salt -- pinch
  • Water -- 2 tablespoons
  • Cornstarch or arrowroot -- 1 tablespoon
  • Cream -- 1/4 cup

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the 4 cups of water, sugar and cinnamon stick to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the cherries and a pinch of salt and simmer for another 30-40 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  3. Stir the cornstarch into the 2 tablespoons of water and then quickly whisk the slurry into the simmering cherries. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes to thicken the soup a little.
  4. Pour the soup into a bowl place into the refrigerator until well chilled. Just before serving, stir in the cream.

Variations

  • To use sour cream instead of sweet cream, eliminate the cornstarch slurry and stir 2 tablespoons of flour into 3/4 cup sour cream. Whisk a little of the simmering soup into the sour cream, then whisk the sour cream into the soup. Simmer for another 5 minutes and chill.
  • If you use canned sour cherries, reduce cooking time to 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of chilled red wine (preferably Hungarian), rosé wine or dry sherry with the cream.
  • To add even more flavor, save the cherry pits. Wrap them in a towel and pound with a hammer to crack them. Tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth and simmer along with the cherries. Remove along with the cinnamon stick.
  • Try using strawberries instead of cherries. Adjust the sugar down a little.
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