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Feta, the national cheese of Greece, finds its way into a variety of popular dishes, perhaps the least common of which are soups. Any soup recipe that calls for cheese, though, can include feta for a salty and slightly acidic touch of creaminess. Feta soup is made in a variety of ways, depending on the ingredients and the culture, but the feta is usually not added until the soup has largely taken shape.
Some traditional soups of Greece include feta as a fairly prominent ingredient. A chicken feta soup is chicken stock based, with tomatoes, spinach and then feta added as the chicken is nearly boiled through. The soup is finished by oregano, lemon juice and pasta, which is simmered until al dente, then served. Feta adds a salty and acidic touch to this dish.
Another Greek classic starts and finishes even more simply. After a blend of chopped garlic, celery and onion have caramelized in butter, vegetable or chicken stock, white wine, chunks of potatoes and a little nutmeg are added, then brought to a boil. Once the potatoes are nearly tender, chopped spinach goes in with some cream. Many chefs puree this blend once it is cooked to make all the ingredients uniform in size, and then add a little Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, pine nuts and feta. The feta will melt into the soup to provide little pockets of added earthiness, but it is the other dairy that makes this soup creamy.
Feta soup can be made to mirror many popular soup recipes. Some chefs prepare a broccoli and feta soup, substituting the customary cheddar. Others make a tomato-basil feta soup, which is essentially tomato soup with the added distinction of feta. Roasted red pepper and feta soup includes scorched, smoky peppers that are then chopped with onions, garlic and celery, and combined with red wine, lemon juice, feta, sour cream, soy and milk for a quick puree in the blender and a long simmer over medium-low heat.
Most soups that benefit from the addition of cheese can be garnished or even produced with the help of feta. As previously illustrated, these can resemble traditional favorites or take on a life of their own. Some other tried and true complex combinations are cold gespacho feta soups: one with cucumber, mint, watercress and feta, and another with watermelon, mint, lemon juice, feta, wine and ginger.
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