Friday, February 17, 2017

Avgolemono, Greek rice and lemon soup

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    For this special lemon week on the blog to celebrate the Lemon Festival held in Menton, on the French Riviera (France), between Nice and the Italian frontier, I wanted to find a savory recipe to propose on the blog because, even if I like cakes and pastries, one is enough in a week ! At least, not to my stomach but my body... ha ha.  I could have share the recipe of the Italian lemon pasta but I already have a recipe of macaroni with lemon and mascarpone cooked like a risotto here.

   And after a few researches, I stumbled upon this typical Greek dish. I know well the Greek cuisine but didn't even know this recipe called Avgolemono that is made of egg (avgo) and lemon (lemono) - as its name says. Traditionally , it's prepared with meat broth, egg and rice, some put meat inside too, most of the time chicken.

   Of course, I made it vegetarian and as I still didn't have eggs at home (I buy some not very often now), I didn't put any so I used meat textured vegetable proteins (TVP) to add proteins. This is my personal opinion but I think their texture is familiar with chicken breast. However, as every soy ingredient, it doesn't taste anything but the good thing is that the TVP take the taste of the liquid they cooked in (broth, sauce, etc.). They're made of soy flour from which the oil has been taken off and are rich in proteins (50 g for 100 g / 1,75 oz for 3,50 oz), more than red meat ! In France, we can find them in organic stores, in packs or bulk, from different sizes (some are as big as chicken filet).

   And as for many recipes... numerous versions exist so I went and took this and that I liked in different recipes and made my own by adding lemon zest and not just the juice, this soup may at least taste lemony ! To garnish, this is mainly rice (basmati or arborio) but I saw some recipes with soup pasta, I chose wild rice from Camargue (South East of France) because it's cooked slowly (for about 45 minutes) but also for its rustic taste. Some add dill at the end but I don' like it so I skipped it.

   Finally, it was a very good food discovery to me, the rice, the TVP and the veggies bring some consistency to this lemony healthy soup-meal. 

Avgolemono, Greek rice and lemon soup

Prep time : 5 minutes
Cook time : 45 minutes
Serving : 2 to 3 people

- vegetable oil
- 1 little onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced 
- 150 g / 5,30 oz wild rice (or another rice of your choice)
- 1,25 l to 1,75 l / 5 to 7 cups / 42,25 to 50,18 fl. oz vegetable broth
- 50 g / 1,75 oz  meat textured vegetable proteins (TVP)
- 1 organic lemon (zest and juice)
- 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce (gluten free organic traditional soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp tahini (sesame butter)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper

  • In a large saucepan or a stewpot, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Sweat the onion, shallot and garlic for a few minutes on medium heat until they're translucent (but not brown).

  • Add the carrots and celery and cook them for another 5 minutes, you may need to add another tbsp of oil to avoid burning the onion.

  • Add the rice and 1 liter / 2 cups / 33,8 fl. oz of the broth and let simmer about 45 minutes on medium heat. Keep an eye on the pan, you may need to add some broth during the cooking. Be careful if you're using another type of rice, refer to the indications on the pack and add the rice when there'll be this cooking time left (for exemple, add basmati rice after 35 minutes of the cooking as it usually need about 10 minutes to be ready).

  • When there is 15 minutes left cooking, add the TVP. Watch the cooking again because they'll absorb some of the liquid and you'll need to add some broth (I added about 500 ml / 2 cups / 16,9 fl. oz).

  • At the end of the cooking time, add the lemon zest and juice, the soy sauce, the tahini and the yeast and let simmer for another minute.

  • Remove the pan from the heat and season if needed. Serve hot!

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