In October 2015, 12 members from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens went on pilgrimage to the Homorod Valley, to the home of Unitarianism in Transylvania. While touring historical sites, we toured the traditional cuisine. Our host, wife of the minister in Okland, Eva Kelemen, guided us to try foods that richly represented the culture. The menu item that she frequently encouraged us to try was the cherry soup, Meggyleves. I share this recipe in remembrance of the wonderful pilgrimage. Jó étvágyat
HUNGARIAN CHILLED CHERRY SOUP (MEGGYLEVES)
Every Hungarian family has its own unique recipe for sour cherry soup. In Hungary, this soup is generally served before the main course and the cherries are un-pitted.
2 (24-oz.) jars of pitted sour cherries (preferably morellos), with their juice (Alternatively, you may use 1 3⁄4 lbs. fresh bing cherries, stemmed and pitted, or 1 1⁄2 lbs. frozen bing cherries with 2 3⁄4 cups sour or regular cherry juice.)
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick cinnamon
1 slice (1⁄2“-thick) lemon
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
and optionally: 1/2 cup red wine
Add cherries, with their juice, to a 4-quart saucepan. Add salt, cinnamon stick, and lemon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until cherries are soft, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and 1⁄4 cup of hot cherry liquid from pan. Remove pan from heat; stir in sour cream mixture. Chill the soup.
* This Hungarian dish is a dessert disguised as a soup. Morello cherries in a light syrup, like the one’s sold at Trader Joe’s stores, are ideal.