The word chłodnik means coolant and it is a refreshing start to a meal in summer. The word is often translated as cold soup and that just does not do it justice.
Now my mother never made chłodnik and with the thoughts of a cold soup, which might be a little greasy I never imagined it would be good.
Then on a summer visit to Poland, one of my aunties made it with beetroots from her garden. She served it with a bowl of steaming boiled potatoes, lightly crushed, also freshly dug from the garden. I remember these as the most delicious potatoes I had ever had. The chłodnik was wonderful and I was hooked!
This is a chilled version of barszcz the classic Polish beetroot soup.
I make the clear, meat-free, Lenten barszcz made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve .
Many years ago I started to make my barszcz with beetroot concentrate as the base, with the addition of vegetable stock and this has proved to be very popular. This is what I used for the chłodnik.
I sometimes also use barszcz from a carton, which is incredible, tastes home made! However there was none in stock at my local Polish shop last week.