Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Greek Themed Dinner

Photo: Taste.com.au

I took a quick jaunt to our local farmer's market on Sunday and picked up most of the fixins for this weeks meals. I had fun planning my menu and was able to find some great stuff for a Greek themed dinner. I got chicken breasts and some veggies to make a quick stock and then soup, potatoes, eggs, mixed greens and feta cheese. With a quick trip to the grocery store and a stop at our favorite Greek restaurant for my most favorite hummus, we had quite the feast last night.

The Menu
Homemade Avgolemono soup
Pita with hummus, feta and mixed olives
Greek potatoes
Mixed greens with lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan

Avgolemono Soup
adapted from William Sonoma's Soup cookbook

olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
6 or 7 cups chicken stock (I used 3 cups homemade + 4 cups store bought - see below)
1/2 cup long grain white rice
4 egg yolks, lighten beaten
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 t finely chopped lemon zest
salt & pepper
2 T finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup shredded chicken

In a large pot over medium heat, saute carrots in olive oil for a few minutes. Add chicken stock, turn up heat and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered about 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest.

When rice is cooked, take out one cup of broth. Whisking constantly to prevent curdling, slowly pour the hot stock into the egg mixture.

Reduce heat under the stock to low and slowly stir in the tempered egg mixture. Cook, stirring, until the soup is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Do let let the soup boil.

Stir in shredded chicken and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 small servings. (Next time I will double this recipe so we have more leftovers.)

Chicken Stock

I'm really partial to homemade chicken stock for simple soups. I also wanted to add some shredded chicken to this recipe so I was able to kill two birds with one stone. If you're missing an item or two, no worries. You just want to add veggies and herbs to give flavor to your stock.

2 chicken breasts
2 carrots, cut in half or thirds
1 white onion, quartered
3 celery stalks (plus leaves), cut in half or thirds
1/2 or whole garlic bulb, cut in half
handful of parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 t whole peppercorns
1-2 t kosher salt

Throw it all in a pot and cover with water by an inch or two. Bring to a boil over medium or medium high heat, then simmer for a few hours. Once it's done, strain through a fine mesh strainer two times.

Shred one chicken breast for soup and save the other for something else.

Cool stock in the sink with cold water and ice before moving to fridge. Leave overnight, then skim off fat before using or putting into containers to freeze.

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