Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Greek Lemon Soup

There is this great Greek restaurant in the heart of Houston, in Montrose, called Niko Nikos, http://www.nikonikos.com/. They have the BEST gyros and gyro plates. It is often hard for me to deviate from what I know is good on a menu. I try to take everyone I know there, and the more people I take there, the more things I am able to try without abandoning my gyro. Everything I have had from their menu is delightful. From the feta calamari to the spinach and chicken wrap, each dish delights the taste buds. But, the soup, oh the soup is the best thing they serve by far. I say that because I have never tasted anything quite so, perfect to what it should be. The amount of lemon is zesty without being tart, the rice is never overcooked and the smell could cure even the worst cold.

I have been searching for a soup of this kind for some time. I was delighted the other day when I stumbled across this recipe in my How To Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. It is by no means as good as Nikos soup, but it comes close enough for me. I don’t think there could be an easier more hearty soup recipe. I served it with lemon potatoes, also served at Nikos, my recipe also not as good. But, for something you cook at home, and if you are not Greek, I think you will be proud of yourself. Had I never tasted Niko Niko’s potatoes and soup, I would think this is the best lemon Greek soup ever.

Since the holidays Turkeys have been on sale. I picked up a 10lb turkey and roasted it for dinner a couple of nights ago. Obviously there was tons of meat leftover. I used the body to make stock, and picked the meat off for the soup. The original recipe calls for chicken, which would be good I am sure. Mark and I much prefer Turkey over chicken, so this worked for us. My kids LOVED it. They can't seem to get enough, just thought I would let my kid mommys know.

Good luck. I challenge everyone to make this dish, it is easy, super yummy and a perfect weeknight dinner.

Lemon Greek Soup

6 Cups turkey or chicken stock
1/2 cup long-grain rice or orzo
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 celery stalk, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked bonless skinless turkey or chicken
2 eggs
3 tablespoons greshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more if desired
Minced fresh dill or parsley leaves for garnish

1. Place the stock in a large saucepan and turn the heat to mendium-high. When it is just about boiling, turn the heat down to medium so that it is just bubbles. Stir in the rice, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, untilthey are all tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the chicken or turkey. Turn the heat to low.
2. Place the eggs in a blender and whir for 10 seconds; add the lemon juice and blend briefly. With the motor running, drizzle in about 2 cups of the hot soup. Pour the mixture back into the soup, stirring, and cook breifly, until the soup is slightly thickend, just a couple of minutes, do not boil. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may add more lemon juice at this point.

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