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Tchav Soup

March 25, 2021
Tchav Soup

One of my favorite introductions to summer is the first sorrel I pick in my garden and find in my local farmers’ market. This sour-tasting leafy green grows prolifically—some say like a weed—throughout the summer. During the hot months, Jews from the Eastern European countries of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania often served sorrel in a cold borscht (soup) called tchav (sometimes spelled schav). Sour-tasting foods like tchav were and are known throughout this area, once called the Pale of Settlement.

Featured in: How To Make Tchav, a Chilled Soup That’s Perfect for Shavuot

Great for: Shavuot


  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1leek, white and light green parts only, diced
  • 1onion, diced
  • 2cloves garlic, minced
  • ½pound sorrel, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • ½pound spinach, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1cup assorted herbs such as tarragon, basil, parsley, thyme or chives, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 2tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • ½cup sour cream, crème fraîche, or Greek yogurt
  • 1English cucumber, thinly sliced
Yield: 4-6 servings


  • Step 1

    Warm the butter in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat. Add the leek and onion, sautéing until the onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Pour in 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, then add the sorrel, spinach, herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.

  • Step 2

    Purée using an immersion blender or in a food processor or regular blender. You can purée it to be smooth and silky, or leave a bit of texture if you like. Taste and if too tart, stir in some sugar (although you may not need it if you are garnishing with crème fraîche). Chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator and serve cold, garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche or Greek yogurt and slices of the cucumber.