Sunday, July 3, 2016
Greek Style Grape Leaf Soup Recipe -- Paleo, Allergy Friendly, Easy
I sometimes give up when it comes to food photography; certain foods seem impossible to photograph in a way that makes people seeing those pictures want to eat them. This, I guess, is one of them. But trust me, despite the picture, it is delicious.
I had this idea to make a soup that was inspired by Greek avgolemono, egg lemon soup, using grape leaves to add to the acidity instead of only using lemon juice. Grape leaves grow all around me in the summer, and it's very easy for me to forage them. But, to be honest, I haven't done much experimenting with them as an ingredient. I've stuffed them plenty of times before, but sometimes I'm not looking for something as time consuming as stuffing them, so I've been trying to figure out other ways to use them. I made them in chimichurri sauce and they were delicious, but, again, that was just as a condiment. I want to figure out how to use grape leaves as a vegetable.
So, this idea came from there. I wanted to use the lemony aspect of the grape leaves to enrich this soup, and I think it came out well. I would have used more grape leaves in the soup if not for the fact that my kids only picked a few when I asked them for forage some for me and I was feeling a bit too lazy to go out and pick more, so I just used what I had. Next time I plan on making this with more grape leaves and less lemon juice, but it was very delicious as is.
Since I don't eat eggs, I didn't thicken this soup with egg as is generally done with avgolemono, but instead I used potato starch, and it hit the spot. After making it that way, my Greek friend Vera actually told me that when fasting from animal products for Lent, avgolemono is thickened with flour instead of eggs, so I wasn't even that far from the traditional by doing it this way.
1 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil of choice)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
12 cups weak chicken broth (if your broth is too strong, simply add water)
1/4 cup packed chopped grape leaves/10 small leaves (or more)
2-6 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
6 tablespoons potato, tapioca, or corn starch (or leave out if you want lower carb and don't mind it being a little less thick)
Salt to taste (if desired)
Black pepper to taste (optional)
1. Chop up your onion and garlic and saute in oil until the onion is translucent and the garlic fragrant.
2. Chop up your grape leaves and carrots and saute for a few minutes more.
3. Add broth to the pot, reserving half a cup, and bring to a boil, then simmer until the grape leaves and carrots are fully cooked and soft.
4. Add lemon juice, starting at two tablespoons, then adding one more at a time until you reached the acidity level you prefer. I prefer more acidic, my kids and husband enjoy less, so add less ideally, and then have more lemon at the table to add to your bowl as desired. If you're using more grape leaves than the 1/4 cup I used, you probably will want to stick to the lower end of the amount of lemon listed. If you use the listed amount of grape leaves, probably stick to 4 tablespoons, but if you enjoy sour things, add the extra two tablespoons of lemon juice.
5. Mix the reserved half a cup of broth with 6 tablespoons starch until uniformly mixed and there are no clumps, then pour into the pot, heating until thickened.
6. Add more salt to taste if needed (my broth was salty enough that I didn't need any extra salt), and black pepper if desired.
I served this hot to my family for supper, but I also really enjoyed the leftovers chilled the next morning.
Variations: If you don't have grape leaves, feel free to add some other acidic greens to the soup, like dock/sorrel or wood sorrel, or just leave out and add extra lemon as needed.
Are you a fan of Greek food? Have you ever had avgolemono soup? Do you prefer things on the more acidic side or more mild?
Do you ever forage grape leaves? How do you use them, other than just stuffing them? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?