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Hot Soups for cold days

SPLIT PEA SOUP
Žirnių sriuba

1 lb. split peas
1½ lbs. smoked sausage cut into chunks
¾ cup carrots, diced
1 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
6-8 cups water
Salt and pepper
Rinse peas. In large pan bring water and peas to boil for about 30 mins. Skim off froth as it appears. Add remaining ingredients and continue to simmer until vegetables are cooked and soup is thickened (about 1-1 ½ hours.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with dark Lithuanian rye bread.

POTATO LEEK SOUP
Bulvių sriuba

2 medium leeks, or about 4½ cups sliced leeks, white part only
2 Tbsps. cooking oil
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1½ lbs. potatoes, peeled and roughly diced (about 3 cups)
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt to taste
¼ tsp. white pepper
Sour cream
Chopped chives
Remove the root end of the leeks, trim the dark green tops and reserve for another use. Slice the light part into ½ -inch rounds, wash well and set aside on a plate. Heat the oil in a pot, over medium heat, add the leeks. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add stock, water, potatoes, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Raise heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and puree the soup in batches. Place pureed soup in a pot and reheat, covered over low heat. To serve, place a generous dollop of sour cream in the bottom of each bowl and sprinkle with chopped chives. Serves 6. Potatoes and leeks are a combination made in heaven on winter days.

BEET SOUP WITH DILL & YOGURT
Burokų sriuba su krapais ir jogurtu

1 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion, sliced, about 1 cup
1 lb. beets, peeled and coarsely diced, about 4 cups
1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup plain yogurt
3 Tbsps. chopped dill
Heat oil in pan over low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, about 12 minutes. Add beets and cook, covered, about 35 minutes, stirring occasional- ly, until beets are falling apart. Add stock and salt. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid. Transfer beets to blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return puree to pan and add reserved liquid. Makes 6 servings.

MUSHROOM SOUP
Grybų sriuba

1 lb. fresh mushrooms, cut into small pieces
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 Tbsps. butter
2 bay leaves
4 peppercorns
8 cups water
Salt to taste
Precook mushrooms, add to boiling water with potatoes, seasonings and cook until potatoes are soft. Add butter and salt, mix well. Mushroom soup can be whitened with sour cream.

LEMON SOUP WITH RICE
Citrininė sriuba su ryžiais

1 lb. potatoes
½ lb. soup greens
½ cup rice or barley
½ cup sour cream
4-5 dried mushrooms
1 lemon
1 Tbsp. butter
Dill, salt
Make broth using greens, seasonings, mushrooms and 16 cups of water. Strain. Cook rice or barley separately, adding butter. Add to soup and bring to a boil. Slice unpeeled lemon, slice mushrooms into julienne strips and add both to the soup before serving. Stir in cream.

VEGETABLE SOUP WITH MILK
Baltinta daržovių sriuba

2 lbs. potatoes
1 lb. fresh cabbage
1 lb. carrots
3 Tbsps. butter
2 Tbsps. flour
1 quart milk
Bay leaf, salt to taste
Grate carrots coarsely and cook in a small amount of water. When they are partly cooked, add cut-up potatoes. Shred cabbage and scald with boiling water to remove bitter taste; add to vegetables. Saute flour in butter until light brown and add to the soup. Pour in the milk. The soup will be tastier if it will not be allowed to boil after the addition of milk.