World-renowned chef and author Maria Elia’s new Greek cookbook, Smashing Plates, was inspired by the cuisine at her father’s tavern in Cyprus. Greek pub food. Sound like a winning formula? We combed through this page-turner and came up with a few recipes to share.
There’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of chicken soup… I’d recommend you poach a whole chicken a day in advance. Or, if you have half a roast chicken leftover, strip the meat from it and make a stock from the roasted carcass: place the stripped carcass in a pot with 1/2 an onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 rib celery, a bay leaf, and a carrot if you have one. Cover with cold water and place over low heat for 1 hour. Turn off heat and let cool before straining. Discard the carcass and aromatics, and your stock is ready!
I adore the flavor and smell of stuffed grape leaves. They bring back childhood memories of spending Sundays at my Aunty Stella’s, and to this day I’ve never eaten a dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) as good as hers. While writing this recipe I got to thinking that some soaked raisins and shaved Kefalotyri would be good to serve with this soup. I also tried it topped with a little crumbled feta, which was great. Next time I make it I’m going to add some peeled fava beans. Basically, go with whatever you think sounds good!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a pinch ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 3/4 cup orzo
- 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 8 grape leaves (fresh or pickled), trimmed of stem and shredded (see recipe)
- 1/2 cup chicken meat
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- If using fresh grape leaves, blanch them in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes until they’re no longer bright green; refresh under cold running water. If using pickled or jarred leaves, place in a colander and rinse well.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 5–8 minutes until softened and transparent.
- Add the garlic, allspice and cinnamon and cook for another minute, then add the chicken stock and bring almost to a boil.
- Add the orzo, tomatoes, grape leaves and chicken, then reduce the heat so the soup is simmering.
- Cook for approximately 8 minutes, or until the orzo is tender.
- Add the fresh herbs and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.
Find more global chicken soup recipes on Food Republic: