Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup (Meggyleves)

By Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns
July 18, 2018
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Author Notes: This chilled soup is arguably Hungary's most iconic summertime dish. The harvest season for sour cherries is short, and during those weeks, this soup is found on almost every restaurant menu and in nearly every home, where grandchildren are often given the task of pitting the cherries.

This recipe comes from the cookbook Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Cortney Burns and Nicolaus Balla.
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns

Food52 Review: If you can't find dashi broth pre-packaged, here's a tutorial on how to make kombu dashi at home. In a pinch, use another flavorful broth of your choice. The Editors

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 4 hrs
Cook time: 45 min

  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium sweet white onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
  • 2 cups sweet white wine
  • 2 cups kombi dashi (see headnote)
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh sour cherries, or 1 3/4 ib frozen sour cherries, pitted; 20 reserved for garnish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 drop sour cream, for garnish
  • 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful freshly chopped fresh dill, for garnish
  • 1 handful freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 1 handful toasted sunflower seeds, for garnish
  • 1 dash grapeseed oil, for garnish
  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat until a drop of water flicked on the surface sizzles gently on contact. Add the filtered grapeseed oil, then immediately add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and dashi and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the cherries, return the liquid to a simmer, and cook just until the fruit starts to break down and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, remove from the heat, and let cool slightly.
  3. Transfer the mixer to a blender, working in batches if necessary (the machine should be no more than half full), and puree until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a container and refrigerate uncovered until well chilled, about 4 hours.
  4. Chill individual bowls in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with a scoop of sour cream. Garnish with reserved cherries, pepper, dill, parsley, sunflower seeds, and grapeseed oil. Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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