Trahana soup! I like its milky, somewhat sour flavour (think of sourdough bread), and its thick, creamy consistency. I'm getting over a cold and each spoonful of this soup I take feels like soothing balm for my achy throat.
Trahana is not well known outside Greece. It’s a popular pasta-like product that’s turned into winter soups or used to thicken recipes. Today’s Greek chefs have devised novel ways of cooking it. One way is to use it as a side dish with meats such as lamb. They combine it with tomato sauce and a little cinnamon, and it’s quite delectable that way. However, nothing beats trahana made into soup!
The time to start making trahana is in early fall after the harvest is done. Milk, usually goat’s milk, is poured into churns and made into yoghurt. It’s switched into clean churns daily with more and more milk added each time. Once the milk has fermented, wheat is mixed in along with lemon juice and a few spices. In some regions vegetables are also incorporated into the mix. The concoction is then boiled until it sets and forms a solid dough. The dough is cut into small pieces and placed onto large tables covered with cloth. Protective tulle is used to cover the dough. The tables are taken outside so that the trahana can dry in the hot sun. Usually, there is a designated person such as a child whose job is to guard the trahana from the elements and from animals. If there is no one to guard it, the trahana is moved indoors.
|Trahana Dough made by my cousin!|
|Setting it out to dry|
Below, the trahana has been ground up over a sieve and allowed to dry one last time. This tahana was lovingly made by my cousin Serafia who lives in Greece.
One of its distinctive properties is that when it’s cooked it becomes creamy and thick.
Trahana comes in sweet and sourdough varieties. In my opinion, sourdough is the best way to go! Above, a bag of trahana sold by Greek Internet Market.
It's also available through Titan Foods, a large Greek grocery store in Astoria NY.
- In a skillet heat the olive oil and add the garlic, scallions and onions.
- Cook for a few minutes, and then add the mushrooms and the thyme.
- Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until the onions have started to get brown and the mushrooms are soft.
- Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Into a soup pot, add the liquid and bring to a boil.
- Pour in the trahana and lower the heat.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes until the soup thickens. Stir occasionally so that no lumps are created.
- You're looking for the consistency of soup, therefore, if it gets too thick, add some more liquid.
- Add the cheeses, the olive oil and the reserved mushrooms and continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Ladle it into soup bowls and serve it while it’s hot.
|I don't mind leftovers ... Tarama tends to thicken because it keeps absorbing its cooking liquid.|