Easter is right around the corner, dears. If all you are doing to prepare is searching the supermarket fliers to get the best price on two dozen eggs for coloring, well, then - it's time for you to get busy.
Have you ever heard of Easter Soup? Hearing about it may be quite enough- the Soup Lady is afraid that someone may try to serve it to her within the next few weeks. Here are three versions of Easter Soup. Try to remain brave.
The first recipe is the one that I know from my childhood. Thank goodness most of the old ladies who insisted on serving this as an Easter tradition have gone to a better place. Although the Soup Lady is quite sure that heaven awaits when she shuffles off this mortal coil, it would be a bad surprise if the old ladies are there waiting with pots of Easter soup.
As usual with Polish cooking, this recipe was born of poverty and hunger. The soup started by saving the water that the keilbasa was boiled in and ended by floating the leftover hardboiled eggs around in it. Very economical and the mama got extra points for pulling off that "something special for the holiday" bit.
Polish Easter Soup
Boil up one ring of fresh keilbasa. Take the keilbasa out of the pot but save the water, (about 6- 8 cups). Add 6 peeled and cubed potatoes and the whey from 1 quart of buttermilk (Make the whey by heating up the buttermilk until a cheesey layer forms. Skim off the cheesey part and what you have left is the whey. This must have worked it's way into the recipe as a leftover from something, too. What purpose it serves in this recipe is unclear.) Cut the keilabsa into slices and add it back to the pot along with 2 cups of cubed cooked ham. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of white horseradish. Thicken the broth with 2 tablespoons of flour that has been mixed with water. Add slowly to the soup and stir. Temper one cup of sour cream in a mixing bowl by slowly adding the hot broth and stirring continuously. Add this back into the soup pot and add salt and pepper to taste. This part is trickier than it seems because it means you have to acutally taste it at this point.
Five minutes before you are ready to serve, add about 8 hard-boiled eggs to the soup pot. They can be whole or sliced - doesn't make any difference at this point.
Greek Easter Soup
The Greeks are definately testing out the Resurrection thing here, meaning you'll probably die on the spot if someone tries to make you eat this. I'm only printing this here in the interest of fair and blanced cultural reporting. I do not recommend it. Once again, it springs from using the leftovers of other parts of the meal, in this case, a lamb. Let's see if you can read past the second line:
The liver, lungs, heart and intestines of a young lamb (intestines are optional) but that is what thickens the broth
1 cup spring onions, finely chopped
1 cup dill, chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon fresh thyme, or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 cup dry white wine
To prepare organs, blanch them in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove from boiling water, let the meat cool and cut into very small pieces.
In a large pot, add the extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the lamb's feet for 3 minutes. Add the small organ pieces and continue to sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add 7 cups of water, cover pot and cook at low temperature for about one hour. Add the onions and dill to the pot. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes until the liquid is reduced to about 5 cups. Turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs lightly in a bowl. Add the lemon juice a little at a time, beating continuously. While beating, pour in some of the warm broth from the pot. Add the egg-lemon mixture into the soup, and stir lightly. Turn the stove on to medium-heat and bring soup to a simmer without letting it boil. Taste for salt, pepper and lemon. Serve immediately then keel over. recipe from starchefs.com
Neapolitan Easter Soup
The Italians get into the act by adding their own outsider meat (pig's tail) and throwing in a salami. Make this one if the keilbasa water in the Polish version is not greasy enough for you.
3/4 pound breast of veal
1 pound beef shank
3/4 pound pig's tails (substitute lean pork if you prefer)
3/4 pound sausage
1/2 pound salami
Fresh parsley and thyme
A little bit of rosemary
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 medium-sized onion
1.5 quarts water
5 pounds cardoons stripped of their fibrous threads, or 5 pounds leafy vegetables (savoy cabbage, lettuce, beet greens etc.)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt (to be added at the end)
Pepper or hot pepper to taste
On Easter Eve make broth using the meat and the herbs; begin with cold water to cover and place the herbs in a gauze pouch so you can remove them easily when the broth is done (an hour or somewhat more simmering; taste the liquid and correct seasoning). Remove and discard the herbs. Remove the meat from the broth, pluck it from the bones, and set it in a bowl, with enough broth to cover.
The next day skim the fat from the bowl and the soup pot and stir in the wine. Scrub chop and boil the greens until almost done, drain them well, and finish cooking them in the broth with the meats, seasoning to taste. Serve with slices of toasted bread. recipe from italianfood.about.com
Mercifully, the Soup Lady is done talking about Easter Soup.