A common dish in Greece that has roots in Greek Orthodox monasteries is one of the most popular soups to make during the Lenten fasting period.
We borrowed this recipe– a variation of a recipe from a monastery– from Carolina Doriti, an Athens-based chef and freelance food writer who shares a lot of her food creations on Instagram and Facebook.
Tahinosoupa, aka tahini soup, is both nutritious and fills you up, according to Doriti, who adds that “although the foods of Lent are not meant to offer pleasure, I must admit that I love many of them, this soup included.
It’s often made on stricter fasting days, when even olive oil and wine are forbidden and is common in many regions of Greece on Good Friday.
Doriti adds, “I have vivid memories of my grandmother Rena eating this soup every Good Friday, a day that people typically fast from almost everything.”
Doriti shared her version, which has been adapted from a monastery recipe on Mount Athos and primarily features mushrooms. The typical recipe would boil the mushrooms, onions and dill, and directly add in orzo or rice.
This version includes a few more flavors to make it pleasurable for any occasion and not just for Lent.
Recipe comments from Carolina Doriti: I use a vegetable broth instead of water, and I made it with dried porcini mushrooms, but other types of mushrooms or a mix of either fresh or dried, will also work great!
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is available in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern markets. Good quality Greek tahini is available at Olive Grove Market here.
Porcini Mushroom Tahinosoupa, or Tahini Soup
20 gr porcini mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped (green part too)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1.3 liter hot vegetable broth
80 gr orzo
60 gr tahini
40 ml lemon juice
4 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped chives to serve
Freshly ground black pepper
To convert metric measurements to US and British kitchen units, click here.
Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 20 minutes. Strain but keep the water.
Place a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add in the sunflower oil and once hot, sauté the onion and leek, stirring, until soft and glossy. Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir for another minute. Pour in the mushroom liquid and hot vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium low and add salt to taste. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Bring heat up again to medium high and when it is boiling add in the orzo. Boil for about 7-8 minutes until the orzo is cooked. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl or pitcher add the tahini and lemon juice and whisk. It will be very thick. Add in some of the hot soup into the tahini – a couple of ladles each time – while whisking gently. The tahini should all dissolve well and the mix should gently warm up from the soup liquid.
Pour the tahini into the soup, mix and add in the chopped dill as well. Serve and add black pepper and chopped chives on top.
Recipe and photos published with permission of Carolina Doriti. Our story is based on the original version at Culinary Backstreets.