This week marks the beginning of Great Lent in the Orthodox world. Many are beginning a 40-day fast. Part of this fast includes refraining from various foods such as meat, oil, fish, diary and wine. I wish I could provide 40-days of Lenten recipes, however, my focus is to make Greek simple. “Greek” and “Orthodox” are two very different terms. Nonetheless, as a shout-out to my Orthodox friends I will share a few of my favorite Lenten recipes throughout the upcoming 40-days.
My Yiayia (Grandmother) passed this recipe down to me many years ago. She received it from a friend who was known to make this soup at the beginning of Great Lent for the senior social group in their community. In recent years I’ve changed it up with the addition of a few ingredients such as potatoes and homemade croutons to add a little pizzazz. I like to make this as homage to them- a truly faithful and fun-loving bunch, some with more energy than most 20-somethings! Many of these folks have passed on, my grandmother included, but when I make this soup I can’t help but think of this group of 80-somethings – gathering once a month to spend an afternoon socializing and sometimes cooking and baking for one another. It brings a smile to my face.
This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and makes enough to last for a handful of dinners and lunches throughout the week. Blending a portion of the soup in the blender creates a creamier consistency, however, it’s not necessary to enjoy this tasty soup. If you want to spice things up, add in a dash of Tabasco or sriracha to your bowl.
2 cans white cannelloni beans- drained and rinsed
1 medium onion chopped fine
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
2-3 carrots diced
2-3 stalks of celery diced
¼ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
1 large potato cubed
1 can tomato sauce
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup sweet vermouth or red wine (optional)
2 ½ teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon rosemary
3 bay leaves
2 cups water
salt and pepper
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic, in olive oil (if using) until soft. Add carrots, celery, parsley and about ¼ cup of water. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add beans, potato, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, vermouth or wine (if using), sugar, rosemary, bay leaves and water. Cook for about 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove 2 cups of the soup and blend until smooth in a blender. Add the blended portion back into the pot with the remaining soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with homemade croutons.
*Time Saving Tip: chop onions and garlic together in a mini-food processor.
Homemade Croutons Recipe:
Cut your favorite bread into cubes. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet with chopped garlic, rosemary and oregano. Add the bread cubes and toast until crunchy and brown.
©2014 by Alexandra Salidas Roll, Figs & Feta.
Recipe by Alexandra Salidas Roll of Figs & Feta. Please do not reprint this recipe without permission. If you would like to feature this recipe on your blog or site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link your post to this one as the original source. Thank you!