My mom and I absolutely love Greek avgolemono soup. Recently, I made this meatball version when she was visiting. Springtime in a bowl! Light, bright and fresh.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used homemade stock and modified the method.
Yield: Serves 4
1 pound ground chicken, ground turkey, or beef, very cold
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, plus more for garnish, divided
1/2 cup grated yellow onion (from about 1 small onion)
1/4 cup grated carrot (from about 1 carrot)
1/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice, such as Basmati or Carolina, well rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, finely grated, pushed through a garlic press, or minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups homemade turkey stock + 2 cups chicken stock)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
freshly grated nutmeg, for serving, optional
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, 1/4 cup dill, onion, carrot, rice, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Gently mix with your hands until well combined.
Gently form the mixture into 24 to 30 meatballs, each about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, placing them on a plate or baking pan. (I used a cookie scoop to evenly ration the meat mixture.)
Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. This helps the meatballs keep their shape while cooking.
In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and use a slotted spoon to carefully add meatballs to the pot. The broth should cover the tops of the meatballs by about 1/2 inch. If not, add a little water. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat so the broth doesn’t boil, until meatballs are cooked through and rice is tender, 25 to 35 minutes. (You can break open a meatball to test it.) Remove pot from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until just mixed. Slowly add a ladle of warm broth to egg-lemon mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in another two ladles of broth to temper the egg mixture.
Slowly drizzle the egg-lemon mixture back into the pot with the meatballs, stirring gently so you don’t break apart the meatballs.
Return the pot to medium-low heat until it just starts to simmer. (Wait for a bubble or two to appear, but don’t let the pot boil.) The broth should be silky.
Remove from heat, stir in remaining 1/2 cup dill. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It may need quite a bit of salt if you are starting with unsalted broth.)
Garnish with nutmeg, if you like, and dill, and serve.
This Thanksgiving, we branched out from our favorite wild mushroom gravy to try this roasted poblano version. It was incredible. Because we roasted a much smaller turkey and made less mashed potatoes, I plan to gobble up any leftover gravy as a dip with tortilla chips. 🙂 It would also be wonderful in tacos or as sauce in a pot pie.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Javier Cabral and Paola Brinseño González. I incorporated a shallot as well as the roasted turkey pan dripping and juices. I also reduced the salt. Next time I will roast the poblanos in advance. I am going to start making it year-round!
Yield: about 2 cups
2 large (3 ounce) poblano chilies
1 T unsalted butter
2 T roasted turkey pan fat (can substitute 2 T unsalted butter)
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 1/2 cups roasted turkey pan drippings plus vegetable, chicken, or turkey stock, divided
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place chilies on an aluminum foil lined baking pan. Place under a broiler, rotating every 5 minutes, until skin is charred on all sides. (Alternatively, using kitchen tongs, hold 1 chile directly over a medium flame of a gas stovetop. Cook until skin is blackened, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining chile.)
Wrap the blackened chilies in the aluminum foil to steam. (Alternatively, place chiles in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap.) Let steam for 10 minutes.
Rub off skin from chiles, removing as much of the blackened skin as you can. (Don’t worry if all of the skin doesn’t come off.) Remove and discard stems and seeds.
Finely dice the roasted chilies.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add shallot and diced chiles. Cook until onion is soft, about 4 minutes.
Combine shallot mixture and 1/2 cup stock in a blender, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. (I used a Vitamix.)
Place 2 tablespoons of fat from pan drippings (or 2 T butter) in same skillet over medium.
Whisk in flour, and reduce heat to low. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and add shallot-chile puree and remaining 1 cup pan drippings with stock, and cook, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; add buttermilk. Simmer gently to allow flavors to meld, about 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Note: Poblano peppers can be roasted, peeled, and cut 2 days ahead.
Brussels sprouts are an essential part of my Thanksgiving weekend menu because my mom and mother-in-law are here to gobble them up with me. 🙂 In this dish, they are sweetened- and darkened- with balsamic vinegar.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Amanda Hesser. I significantly reduced the amount of breadcrumb topping. It was a nice side dish to serve on Thanksgiving because it comes together quickly and requires minimal oven time.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1/2cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh
1tsp thyme leaves
4 T extra virgin olive oil
4 T unsalted butter
2 lbs baby Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (cut larger ones in two)(I used an entire stalk of sprouts)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
6ounces pancetta in small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 T minced shallots
1 T minced garlic
1/2cup balsamic vinegar
1/2cup veal stock or rich chicken broth, more if needed
2 T chopped parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
In a bowl, mix bread crumbs and thyme with 2T olive oil, and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Heat butter and remaining 2 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foamy.
Add brussels sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add diced pancetta, and sauté, tossing frequently, until sprouts are well browned and softened slightly, and pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes more.
Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes.
Increase heat to high, add balsamic vinegar and stock, and cook, tossing frequently, until sprouts are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes; add more stock if needed.
Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary.
Transfer to a warm serving bowl and scatter bread crumbs and chopped parsley on top.
After sharing my friend’s Greek Meat Stuffing recipe, I realized that I have other Greek-inspired dishes to share. As avgolemono soup is one of my all-time favorites, I must say that the star of this dish is the creamy but cream-less egg-lemon sauce. It seems to bring brightness that should be served in springtime. 🙂
This dish was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Gabrielle Hamilton. I used chicken stock instead of lamb stock. The author states that it is easier to perfect the rice by cooking it pasta style, in seasoned, boiling water. She also suggests using the delicious sauce with asparagus, roasted salmon, or poached chicken. Nice.
Yield: Serves 4
coarse salt, for cooking rice and for seasoning the sauce
1 ¼cups jasmine or Basmati rice
1cup frozen small peas
2cups homemade brown lamb stock, turkey stock, or chicken stock
5large egg yolks
¼cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4scallions, sliced in 1/3-inch rings, on a slight bias
freshly ground black pepper
Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Season lightly with salt.
Rinse the rice, and pour into boiling water, stirring well to keep grains from clumping. When the water returns to a boil, lower heat a little to a gentle boil, and cook the rice “pasta-style” until just done. (I cooked the rice 8-9 minutes.)
Drain the rice through a fine-mesh colander, giving it a couple of hearty shakes to remove the last of the water.
Immediately spread cooked rice out on a sheet pan lined with parchment to cool quickly. Do not pat down or pack the rice — you want it fluffy and to be able to cool and dry quickly.
Rinse the peas under cool water briefly to remove any frosty crystals.
Bring the stock to a simmer.
In a stainless bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together until fully incorporated.
In a slow steady stream, while constantly whisking, add half the hot stock into the yolks. Then whisk the egg-lemon mixture back into the remaining stock.
Return the pot to the stove, and simmer (still whisking constantly so as not to cook the egg too fast and too hard), until the avgolemono sauce is full-bodied, approximately the consistency of buttermilk — a minute or 90 seconds more.
Stir in the scallions, then the peas, and when they both turn bright green, turn off the heat, and stir in the rice.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. The rice should be as soupy as risi e bisi (Italian rice and peas) and as creamy as risotto.
This soup is truly season-less, but especially perfect on a cool and rainy autumn day. That’s today for me. 😦
A soup like this is the exact reason to have homemade stock in the freezer! This recipe is from Food Network.com, contributed by Cat Cora. I modified the recipe to use a rotisserie chicken (such a shortcut!) and homemade stock. Loved it. Delicious.
Yield: about 8 servings
1 (approximately 3 pound) rotisserie chicken
12 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely diced onion (I used 1 large yellow onion)
2/3 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To Prepare the Chicken: Pull the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Coarsely shred or dice the meat into large cubes; refrigerate until ready to use.
Warm the stock over high heat, add the rice and onion and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Add the chicken and reduce the broth to a low simmer.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the lemon juice and eggs.
Ladle 2 cups of hot broth into a measuring cup with a pourable spout. While whisking, slowly pour the 2 cups of broth into the egg mixture.
Pour the egg mixture back into the pot, add 1/2 tablespoon salt (less if using store-bought stock) and 1 teaspoon ground pepper. Stir well to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Woo hoo! My husband bought a shiny new stainless steel pressure cooker for me! ❤ This is the first dish I’ve made in it. I LOVE pressure cooker risotto! I have been receiving tons of red long peppers in my CSA share so this recipe seemed like the golden opportunity to break in my new fancy pot. 🙂
This dish had such a beautiful color from not only the red peppers, but also from the saffron. The saffron significantly enhanced the flavor as well. Lovely!
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. I modified the recipe by doubling the peppers (I had so many, I had to use them!), using homemade stock, and by cooking the risotto in a pressure cooker. Pretty and delicious. 🙂
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion or shallot
3-4 plump garlic cloves, minced
2 large red peppers, finely diced (I used 5 red long peppers)
coarse salt, to taste
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
a generous pinch of saffron threads
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or a mixture of parsley and thyme
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/2 cup
In a 5 to 7 quart pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the garlic, peppers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the peppers are limp and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the rice and stir over medium heat until the grains are separate and beginning to crackle, about 3 minutes.
Rub the saffron threads between your fingers and add to the rice.
Add the unheated stock and the wine. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain medium-high pressure. (On my new pot, the pressure should only reach the first red line.) Cook for 7 minutes.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running (trickling) cold water. Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam.
Stir in the cheese; taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the herbs.
Our favorite local Middle Eastern restaurant refers to this pilaf as bulgur “rice.” They have the Turkish coarse bulgur, Pilavlik Bulgur, that it is made with available for purchase- thank goodness. My entire family LOVES it.
A couple of years ago, the owner of this restaurant was part of a Middle Eastern cooking class at our local library. I was disappointed that I was unable to attend the class and then upset when I found out that he made his bulgur rice!! I was able to track down his recipe through the library… but have since misplaced it in my GIANT piles of recipes to try. (You thought this was going to be the special recipe, right?) Well, this version was perfect- IDENTICAL- and so delicious!! Yay!
This recipe was adapted from turkishfood.about.com, contributed by Elizabeth Taviloglu. We ate it with shish taouk wraps- an amazing meal. 🙂
2 cups coarse bulgur (Turkish Pilavlik Bulgur)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 medium onion, grated and drained
1 large tomato, grated
1 small green pepper, grated
2 T tomato paste
1 tsp coarse salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp sugar
4 cups chicken stock
grilled peppers or tomatoes for garnish, optional
fresh Italian parsley or mint for garnish, optional
Grate the onion in a food processor. Press your grated onion in a fine wire strainer to remove the juice as this can make your pilaf bitter.
Melt the butter together with the oil in a covered skillet or shallow pan. Then fry the grated onion until tender but not brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Grate the tomato and pepper in a food processor.
Add the grated tomato and juice, and the grated pepper, season with salt and pepper, and continue to fry until the vegetables have softened and the liquid is reduced.
Add the bulgur and work the butter and vegetables thoroughly through the dry bulgur using a wooden spoon.
Finally add the salt, pepper, tomato paste, sugar and stock and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low.
Let the bulgur simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Keeping the pan covered, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool down. The bulgur will continue to steam inside the pot. For more even steaming, place a few paper towels under the lid.
Gently stir the pilaf before serving to make sure all the ingredients are well blended. Garnish each serving with a piece of fresh or grilled pepper and tomato and some fresh Italian parsley or mint, if desired.