Trahanas is a Greek pasta used in soups; it's made from semolina and bread flour. There are two varieties: the sweet one is made with milk as the binding agent, whereas the sour version, which we've used here, is made with yoghurt. It's quite sour and can be an acquired taste, so add the lemon juice incrementally to suit your palate. Try drying your own mint - hang a bunch to dry for three or four days. Its flavour is quite different from that of the shop-bought variety.
- 1 chicken (about 1.8kg)
- 2 each onions, carrots and celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic head, halved horizontally
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 6 black peppercorns
- 200 gm sour trahanas (see note)
- 3 eggs
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- To serve: dried mint and diced haloumi
- 1Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water, then place in a stockpot with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and 2.5 litres cold water. Bring to the simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer, skimming occasionally, until well flavoured (1½-2 hours).
- 2Meanwhile, soak trahanas in plenty of cold water until softened (1-1½ hours).
- 3Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool. Strain stock through a fine sieve, skim fat from surface, transfer 1.5 litres to a clean saucepan, then bring to the boil over high heat. Add trahanas and 2 tsp salt, stirring continuously to prevent sticking, then reduce heat to low-medium and stir occasionally until thick (30-45 minutes).
- 4Meanwhile, when chicken is cool enough to handle, coarsely shred (discard skin, bones and sinew) and refrigerate until required.
- 5Whisk egg and lemon juice in a bowl, then, whisking continuously, add to soup and stir until thickened (2-3 minutes; do not boil). Add chicken, stir to warm through and serve hot scattered with dried mint and haloumi.
Note Sour trahanas is available from Greek delicatessens.