Even the Soup Is Fermented

By Caroline Hatchett | Megan Swann


Caroline Hatchett
Megan Swann
Carrot-Buttermilk Soup: Carrots, Turnips, Pea Shoots, and Pickled Onions
Carrot-Buttermilk Soup: Carrots, Turnips, Pea Shoots, and Pickled Onions

Chefs Tony Bezsylko and Ethan Pikas have a way with fermentation. At Chicago’s Cellar Door Provisions, they culture house butter and make vinegars and naturally leavened breads. They ferment honey by adding a little water and letting it go wild. No dish is safe from the greedy, sugar-gobbling Lactobacillus, including Cellar Door’s fermented carrot-buttermilk soup.

Bezsylko and Pikas leave a blended mixture of veg and buttermilk on the counter overnight to ferment, yielding a lightly tangy, cheesy-tasting soup that’s garnished with shaved and pickled vegetables. “The key to this recipe is really the quality of the ingredients,” says Bezsylko. “We make the cultured buttermilk and vinegar in house. These small subtleties give individuality to the soup.”

Fermented Carrot-Buttermilk Soup
1. Heat 40 grams sunflower oil in a medium pot over medium low flame.
2. Add 150 grams spring onion, 200 grams carrots (skin-on, diced), 18 grams garlic, and sea salt.
Sweat over medium-low heat until slightly tender, 12 minutes.
3. Add 150 grams potatoes (skin-on, diced) and sweat 10 minutes more.
4. Pour in 450 grams cultured buttermilk and bring the mixture to 122°F. (Higher temperatures will cause the buttermilk to separate.) Maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
5. Add 13 grams lilac vinegar and transfer to a Vitamix. Purée on high for 90 seconds, and pass through a chinois.
6. Cover with cheesecloth and rest at 78°F for 8 to 10 hours, or until the soup has a pleasant fermented undertone.
7. Pour into a shallow bowl and garnish with seasonal vegetables.

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