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Greek Easter Soup ©

April 3, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter in Greece is a wonderful celebration, especially if you are lucky enough to be on one of Greece’s many islands.

Being spring time also, the countryside is full of wild flowers and as Easter approaches I am beginning to think about what I will be cooking. This is a ‘vegetarian version’ of the traditional Greek soup eaten after the saturday midnight  service, breaking the fasting period of 40 days and is a most welcome nourishing soup, on returning form the mid-night, church service.

This is a much lighter version than the traditional Greek recipe and is known as the ‘vegetarian version,’ though here, I do use chicken stock and replace the the offal and intestines with chopped mushrooms, which produces an excellent result and is much more simple to make.

 

**** Lesson in making Chicken Stock and using corn flour and egg yolks as a thickening agent in soup! This is how the well known, “Greek Avgolemono Soup,” is made.

 

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

 

Easy

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation Time : 30 Minutes

**Make Chicken Stock the day before.

 

6 Persons

 

 

Ingredients

Home made chicken stock:

1 medium sized chicken

2 -3 large carrots

2 large onions cut in half

Celery  stalk or leaves

1 Leek

1 tomato ( optional )

Fresh bay leaf ( optional )

6 pepper corns

1 piece of lemon grass ( optional )

1 small whole chili ( optional )

 

The Soup :

50 g butter

6-8 Spring onions

Large bunch of Dill

Large bunch of fennel leaves

1 Large romain lettuce

1 large box of button mushrooms

2 egg yolks

1 large lemon juice or more

1 tbs corn flour

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Method

The day Before :

1. Make up your chicken stock. (Making home made chicken stock, always makes all the difference to a home made soup.) Wash your chicken thoroughly, cut away any fat from the cavity and remove any feather shafts. Place in  saucepan which just fits your chicken, add cold water to come three quarters of the way up the side of your chicken. Clean and add vegetables, cut into 4 cm chunks. Leave chili whole, if using, and remove at the end of your cooking time. The chili is barely noticeable, but just adds a small hint to the final flavor. Bring to the boil and simmer rapidly for 1 hour, lid on.The chicken when cooked should be beginning to fall off the bone and soft when pierced with a fork. Leave chicken to cool in stock. When cold sieve off stock. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of your stock, lay a sheet of kitchen paper on the top, remove and repeat, until most of the fat is removed. Reserve covered in refrigerator. Save chicken for another recipe, for example cold chicken, avocado and lime mayonnaise:

https://whatscookinginjaneskitchen.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/cold-chicken-avocado-and-lime-mayonnaise/

 

Next day :

2. Wash  spring onions, herbs and lettuce, thoroughly, by soaking in salted water to dislodge any garden bugs and rinsing in several changes of water.

3. Very briefly rinse mushrooms, do not soak in water, or they will blacken and trim stalks by cutting off a little of the stalk. Feed into blender with machine going  and finely chop. Other wise chop by hand using a large cook’s knife.

4. Finely chop spring onions, green leaves included, and herbs. Putting four lettuce leaves one on top of the other, finely shred lettuce. ( Reserve a little fennel in a bowl of water, for garnish.)

5. Melt butter in medium sized saucepan and add  spring onions, herbs and lettuce .

6. Over a medium heat  gently sweat  contents of saucepan, for 3-5 minutes. You do not want them to brown at all.

7. Add Chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Leave on a gentle simmer for five minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat and leave to cool a little.

8. Separate two egg yolks into a bowl, discard whites and in a glass mix your corn flour with the lemon juice. Add this to the egg yolks and beat with a fork. Sieve into a clean bowl, so as to avoid any undissolved bits of egg and add slowly to your egg mixture, two ladles of soup. The soup should not be piping hot when you do this, as the eggs could curdle. Mix with a fork and pour back into the rest of your soup.

9. Return  saucepan to medium heat and heat through stirring all the time, until it is just off the boil/ “not boiling,” in other words and is looking silky. It should also be smooth when you taste it, showing the corn flour has been cooked through. If it is at all grainy, cook a little more.

Place soup tureen and soup bowls in oven to warm through.

10. Remove saucepan from the heat, taste two or three times for salt pepper and lemon juice. It should be nice and lemony and in no way bland. Serve in a warm soup tureen, garnishing with a sprig of fennel, or in individual warm soup bowls.

***** Corn flour is a special flour, used to thicken sauces and soups. Egg yolks are also used to thicken soups, but care must always be taken not to let the soup boil. If this happens,  and the egg curdles into small bits, unfortunately it is irreversible. It is also wise to take the saucepan off the heat, even after turning the heat off on an electric cooker. That way there is no risk of the soup curdling.

Cook’s Tip : When making stock, don’t be tempted to add too much water, as it dilutes the intensity of the flavor.

 

 

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

This is what you are aiming for.

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Make up your  chicken stock the day before. One whole chicken, carrots, onions, celery pepper corns and more. Place in medium saucepan, which just fits your chicken. Add water to cover 2/3 rds of  your chicken. Bring to the boil, boil for 1 hour, or until the flesh is beginning to fall off  the bones and the chicken is tender, when pierced with a fork. You never want to add too much water, because then the stock is not concentrated enough.

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Wash and clean thoroughly your onions, herbs and lettuce leaves. Add a good teaspoon of salt to the first rinsing water to dislodge any garden bugs.

Slice spring onions thinly including the green leaves.

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Chop herbs.

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

 

Finely shred lettuce leaves.

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Trim, wash and chop mushrooms, using a blender or large Cook’s knife. (Do not soak mushrooms in water, they will blacken. Just rinse briefly under the tap.)

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and add onions, herbs and mushrooms. Sweet vegetables over a ‘low’ heat for five minutes, making sure they do not brown in any way.

Add sieved chicken stock, season bring to the boil. Simmer for three to five minutes. REMOVE FROM HEAT TO COOL A LITTLE.

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

To make the ‘Avgolemono,’ choose two nice fresh farm eggs.

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Separate them keeping just the yolks. Squeeze a large lemon and measure into a glass 1 tbs corn flour.

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Add the lemon to the corn flour and mix with a spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Add the lemon and corn flour to your egg yolks and beat with a fork.

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Sieve into a clean bowl, to avoid any lumps of egg. Now add to this two ladles of your hot soup, which has been off the heat for five minutes, so that the heat does not curdle the eggs. Pour this back into saucepan. (This is an important process, do not pour egg mixture straight into saucepan of soup!)

Return saucepan to medium heat and cook for five minutes, stirring continuously and never letting it come to the boil. It should look velvety and be smooth on the tongue when tasted. When smooth, it means the flour has cooked.

 

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

Taste for lemon, salt and pepper. This should be a lemony soup with a strong taste.

 

Greek Easter Soup ©

A nourishing hot soup on returning from the mid-night service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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