Chilled Mint & Cucumber Soup

Mint and cucumber is a combination that, I recently found out, is as effective in the spa as it is in the kitchen. If you’re wanting a flat tummy or to detox, a face mask or to cure acne, it is to mint and cucumber that you apparently turn. I’ve never tried it as a beauty treatment, but I have used it to great effect in the kitchen.

Thinly sliced seasoned cucumber and finely chopped mint atop a slathering of farm butter on homemade ciabatta makes one of my favorite sandwiches, while the Indian mint and cucumber raita and southeast Asian mint and cucumber pickles are condiments I’ve often made following a glut. I’ve heard the combination makes a terrific sorbet, and you can’t leave either ingredient out of a Pimms, but none of these quite do it for me like a very cold mint and cucumber soup.

Roasted garlic, just out of the oven.
Roasted garlic, just out of the oven.

I’ve been making Sarah Raven’s Mint & Cucumber Soup for years. It’s easy and moreish, and ideal for lunch served with a salad and fresh bread here in the hot Zambezi Valley. In my estimation, the soup also improves when left for a couple of days in the fridge. That said, the one key ingredient I’ve not mentioned yet — the one that binds together everything else in this recipe — is a whole head of roasted garlic. It’s sweet, smoky taste elevates this soup to a richer, more sophisticated flavor.

All the fresh ingredients for the soup.
Some of the fresh ingredients for the soup.

Sarah Raven’s Mint & Cucumber Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Notes: This soup freezes well but be sure to only roast the garlic when you are ready to eat it. Put a metal bowl in the freezer before starting the recipe to speed up the chilling of the soup before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head garlic
  • sprig rosemary and/or thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 + 2
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, deseeded, and roughly chopped
  • Large handful mint, stripped and roughly chopped
  • 500 grams/2 cups natural yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste


Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180/350 degrees.
  2. Put the unpeeled garlic head on a bed of rosemary/thyme in a roasting dish. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water over the top of the garlic head, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the skin is browned and the cloves soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool, and squeeze out the cloves from their skins into a small bowl.
  3. In a food processor, blend the garlic, cucumber and mint well, before adding the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a slow stream while the machine is still running. Pour the mixture into a metal mixing bowl and stir in the yogurt, along with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Refrigerate the metal bowl filled with the soup until ready to serve. The soup benefits from being very cold so add an ice cube before serving, or even better, add an ice cube with a borage flower or mint leaf frozen into it for garnish.
  5. Serve with fresh ciabatta, or a gluten-free seed and nut bread (recipe to follow soon).

 

Cucumber & Mint Soup with gluten-free Seed & Nut Bread.
Cucumber & Mint Soup, served with gluten-free Seed & Nut Bread (recipe to follow soon).

Annabel Hughes Aston is a writer and an award-winning chef in Livingstone, Zambia. She is the creator of "bush gourmet" cuisine.

14 Comments

  • This is one blog I always read Annabel, when I really don’t have the time for so many great blogs of friends. I love this Mint & Cucumber soup idea – can’t wait to try it. Thanks for a great post as always

    Reply
    • Thank you very much, as always, for your kind comment, Chitaitai! This soup is easy and so, so tasty. I love it!

      Reply
  • […] Source: Chilled Mint & Cucumber Soup […]

    Reply
  • A very refreshing and delicious looking soup – again great photos and blog!

    Reply
    • Much gratitude, as always, Louise. It’s a terrific soup in the summer, and well worth giving it a go!

      Reply
  • Ah, summer! Can’t wait. That sounds delicious.

    Reply
    • Not too long to wait now, Michelle. And yes, it is a really delicious soup!

      Reply
  • Yum Annabel can’t wait to make it and share with friends in this dry summer heat. The added roasted garlic sounds delicious. I once had a cold soup with similar ingredients, plus barley, served by an Armenian friend. The male guests looked at it in horror when it was served but ended up loving it. Not all men are in tune with different good food like your darling Chris! xx

    Reply
    • Haha, Hellie … yes, the boys in my own family would balk at such a soup, too! How lucky I am that Chris is happy with whatever dish is put in front of him! Let me know what you think when you make the soup. Lots of love, Annabel xo

      Reply
  • Always inspiring with such beautiful photography xx

    Reply
    • Lovely to hear from you, Helen … and thank you for your very kind comment. xo

      Reply
  • Lovely. I was slow to use mint in cooking, and I’m not sure why. Especially with recipes as delicious as tabbouleh, that include mint. Anyhow, glad I’m over that. Can’t wait to try this soup when it warms up here!

    Reply
    • Thank you, as always, for your interest, Chef Mimi. This soup wouldn’t work without the mint. It adds a subtle coolness and burst of flavor to the other ingredients. I hope you’ll love it as much as we do!

      Reply

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