4 medium beets, unpeeled
1 qt. plus 1/2 c. water, divided
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stick, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 pint (1 c.) sour cream
1 or 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill, or 1/2 tsp. dried
1. Put beets and enough water to cover in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until skin is soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse until beets are cool enough to handle, then peel and shred them and set aside.
2. Put 1 quart of fresh water in a large soup pot with carrot, onion, celery and potato. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potato is soft, about 20 minutes. Add beets, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar. Keep mixture simmering.
3. In heat-proof bowl, to temper the soup, mix flour with remaining 1/2 c. water and stir with wire whisk to remove any lumps. Add sour cream, then add about 1/2 c. of the soup mixture. Mix well, then add sour cream-soup mixture to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Remove from heat. If soup is to be served cold, let it cool for about 15 minutes and add cucumbers when mixture is still warm. Chill at least 4 hours. Sprinkle with dill when ready to serve. If soup is to be served hot, omit cucumbers because they will get mushy.