Monday, August 29, 2016

Avgolemono Soup - Greek Chicken, Lemon & Rice Soup


One of the most classics soups of Greece.  This soup is creamy (without added fat), lemony and just downright delicious.  It's comfort, literally in one spoonful.  It will leaving you emptying your bowl and going back for seconds...
Oh wait that is me!

 That being said, I love soup, seriously love it.  It doesn't matter the season, I truly love soup.  Last weekend was one of those weekends that I was truly craving it.  I asked myself what kind I wanted, and a plethora of favorites flashed in my head.  The one that stood out, was the one I grew up on.  My mom and aunts make it each a little differently, and of course it various by the regions of Greece.  This version is my version, and I have to tell you, it's "mom and aunts approved".  Yes, best feeling in the world.  

Ready for this vary simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 50-55 minutes (total)
Yield: 6-8 servings


2 chicken breasts with bone in
6 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 tbsp. chicken base, or 4-5 bouillon cubes
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tbsp dried parsley
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup rice
3 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

*Note* taste for salt seasoning as the chicken base has salt in it


-          -In a medium stock pan, add the 6 cups water, chicken and salt and let simmer till cooked about 30 minutes.  Skim off any foam as it boils.

-         - Once cooked, remove the chicken from water and let cool.  When chicken has cooled, remove the skin, bones and dice.

-          -To the remaining chicken broth, add in chicken base (bouillon cubes), 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  

-          -While the broth is reheating, zest and juice the lemon and set aside. 

-          -In a medium bowl, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.  Whisk the egg whites till nice, frothy and a little on the thick side.  Set aside.

-          -When the broth has started to simmer, turn the burner to low and add the diced chicken back in, the parsley, the pepper and rice.  Let simmer till rice is cooked, about 15-16 minutes. 

-          -When the rice is cooked, turn off heat, and ladle 2 ladles full of chicken broth to the egg whites, mixing gently and thoroughly.  Once mixed, add in the egg yolks stir/mix again, and finally the lemon zest and juice.  Pour the lemon egg mixture back into the soup.
,         -Bring the temperature back up to high.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes, ensuring the eggs are cooked. Turn off heat, ladle and enjoy!!

P.S. The process above with the eggs is called tempering.  Meaning you are bringing a very cold into a very hot mixture and making it even tempered.  This way when you pour the egg mixture back into the very hot soup, the eggs will not curdle or scramble! 

 Don't forget to have some crusty bread handy for dipping...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Koulouria Thessalonikis - Greek Sesame Bread Rings

 Man has it been ages since I blogged or what?  Life seems to get busier and busier when you are a working mom, you are lucky to get 5 minutes to yourself, ugh!  Anyway,   I took my mom and my two youngest children to an international store just recently.  We came across sesame bread sticks, but they were dry like zwieback toast.  I bought a package and the kids and I dug in with some Feta cheese, but it wasn't the same.  We were missing the wonderful moist Koulouria from Greece, so I went about to recreate them.

In Greece, you don't have to look far in order to find a street vendor selling these babies.  They are sold almost everywhere! On every street corner, bakery, they are the most traditional and popular of Greek breakfasts along with a cup of coffee.  Eaten with feta cheese, olives as savory, or cut in half crosswise and spread with butter and honey or jam?  Heaven!  They are incredibly crunchy on the outside with a soft and slightly chewy center.  What they are is addicting!

While they were baking the aroma of the sesame seeds and dough was simply enticing.  We couldn't wait for them to cool off just a wee bit till we dug in.  And dig in we did.  The recipe made 10, so we enjoyed 5 for a late lunch and 2 days later we had them again as a wonderful dinner with hard salami, more olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion rings.  We enjoyed them with sliced cucumbers drizzled with olive oil, a pinch of salt and sprinkled with dried oregano...
Greece in a bite!

Ready for this very simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 15-18 minutes
Yield:  10 Rings

4 cup (500g) all purpose flour
1 (150g) cup raw sesame seeds
1-1/2 cups (300g) lukewarm water
1 packet (8g) of yeast (I used the active)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water for dipping

-Using your mixer bowl, can do by hand if desired, add in the lukewarm water, sugar and stir.  Set aside and let yeast proof for about 8-10 minutes.  You will know it is done when the yeast starts to bubble.

-Into the bowl with the yeast add in the flour, salt and olive oil.  
Using the dough hook attachments, mix all the ingredients at low speed for about 7-8 minutes till the dough has formed into an elastic ball.

-Remove dough hook and check the dough.  The dough should be smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky.  If it is too sticky add more flour, if it is too dry add more water.  

-Coat the bowl with olive oil and add back the dough ball and turn so all sides are coated with the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

-Turn the dough onto a solid work surface sprinkled with flour.  Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Take one piece of the dough and roll out into a rope approximately 2.5 inches long (35cm).  Form into a circle and join and pinch the ends together.  Place on a non stick baking sheet.  You will need 2 baking sheets.  

-Continue forming and shaping the rest of the dough.

-Using 2 shallow pans/dishes, add water to one and the sesame seeds to the other.

-Dip the rings first into the water, then into the sesame seeds making sure all sides are coated.

-Place back onto baking pans and cover with towels and let rise once more for 30 minutes.

-Bake in a preheated 400F (200C) oven for 15-18 minutes or till nicely golden brown and crusty.

 Let them rest in the baking pans till they are cool enough to touch.  Grab one quickly, take a bite and enjoy...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi