Dovgha ~ Azerbaijani Yogurt Soup with Rice, Spinach, and Mixed Herbs)

Dovgha  ~ Azerbaijani Yogurt Soup with Rice, Spinach, and Mixed Herbs
This is a yogurt cream soup has its origins from Azerbaijan- a Turkic state that is right in the middle of the Silk Road. Russia to the north, Georgia (the country, not the state) to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
Finely chopped Scallions and Coarsely Chopped Spinach
Azerbaijan’s climate contributes to the fertility of the land, which in its turn results in the richness of the country’s cuisine. It is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, coriander, dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leek, chive, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress are very popular and often accompany main dishes.
Yoghurt, Rice flour, olive oil and salt
The main course of Azerbaijani cuisine are over 30 kinds of soups, including those prepared from plain yoghurt. This is my favorite soup now and so fulfilling. It’s made of yogurt mixed with water, rice, and as many green herbs that you can get your hands on. It can be served hot or cold depending on the season. I love it either way.
Whisk the Yogurt into the pot so that it does not clump
DOVGHA
(Tangy Azerbaijani Yogurt Soup with Rice, Spinach, and Mixed Herbs)

 

Yields 6 servings
Ingredients
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups plain, whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons Sea Salt
3 loosely packed cups coarsely chopped spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can cooked chickpeas* *
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley leaves
Directions
  1. Bring broth or water to a boil with the rice in a large soup pot over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat, and gently boil, covered, for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine yogurt with flour, olive oil, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Very slowly pour the yogurt mixture, a little at a time, into the pot while vigorously whisking with the other hand to prevent curdling. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to a medium-low heat and gently boil for 10 minutes for yogurt to thicken slightly.
  3. Mix in the spinach leaves, scallions, and cooked chickpeas and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, uncovered. Add mint, dill, and cilantro (or parsley) leaves, and cook an additional 10 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Serve hot or warm garnished with extra chopped herbs and/or scallions.
* * To Prepare chickpeas: ¾ cup dried chickpeas; soaked overnight, drained and rinsed and boil for an hour. Remove outer layer; once cooled.

Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) which I run out of my garage for the local farm in Great Neck. So when the CSA season beings I look out for recipes that work with the produce of the week. I came across this recipe Spinach Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms from the Vegetarian Times Issue: May 1, 2008

If you have ever had Greek food, you have had to come across some spinach and feta stuffed vegetable dish of some sort. Take for example, spanikopita, the filo dough filled with spinach and feta. Yum. I find Mediterranean diets so filling, healthy and really so simple. With just a bit of olive oil, garlic, spinach, feta… and presto you have a delicious meal ready in no time. This recipe called for artichoke bottoms, however since I did not have any on hand I used portobello mushroom caps for variation, and I am so glad it worked out that way, because these came out stupendous!

I think if I did this recipe again, I would still use portobello mushrooms, because they have this great chewy hearty texture similar to a piece of meat. This would be a great dish for your carnivorous friends who would be equally satisfied with this classic twist on this Greek dish.

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 large leek, white and pale green part finely chopped (1 cup)
2 cups chopped spinach OR 1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
6 portobello mushroom caps
2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. dried oregano
1/3 cup Gluten Free crumbs OR 1/3 cup crushed gluten free millet/buckwheat flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add leek, and sauté 5 minutes, or until translucent and soft. Stir in spinach and garlic, and cook 3 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, and stir in feta until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cool 10 minutes, or until easy to handle.
  3. Clean the mushrooms with a paper towel- never wash mushrooms with water because it absorbs the water. Place the mushrooms gills side down in an over proof baking dish and place in a preheated oven of for 15 minutes.
  4. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, and place mushrooms face up on baking sheet. Fill each mushroom cap with spinach mixture, and top with tomato slice. Sprinkle each tomato slice with salt, pepper, and oregano, then with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are browned and crispy.