With the coming of spring the season of cold soups begins. Perhaps, every country has its own recipe of cold soup which in summer heat serves more as a tonic than food: Tarator in Bulgaria, gazpacho in Spain, soup from sour cherry in Hungary, Ukrainian beet soup. In Russia the most popular cold soup is Okroshka. No doubt that this soup is one of the favorites. It is very nutritious due to the combination of several kinds of meat, and bread kvass which traditionally serves as a base of the soup perfectly quenches thirst.
The name of the soup originated from the verb “to crumble” (“kroshit” in Russian). It is believed that Okroshka was first cooked by Burlaks, workers who hauled barges and other vessels upstream on big rivers. They used to soak fish in kvass with various vegetables. Over time the recipe of Okroshka became more improvised with many new ingredients added to the original dish. However, the philosophy of the soup remained the same: it can be cooked with every product in your fridge.
Kvass is the main ingredient of the soup. It is best to use sour, white bread kvass. Sweet and carbonated types of this drink will spoil the taste of the soup. Kvass can be substituted with milk whey or buttermilk. There are no special requirements to the meat – it can be fried or boiled. Some modern recipes of the soup include ham and bologna sausages. Potatoes can be added to Okroshka, or can be boiled or fried and served separately.