Chicken Soup with Pontian Grilled Pasta

This recipe is inspired by a very traditional dish that is part of the cooking customs of the Greeks who emigrated from the area around both the Turkish and Soviet sides of Black Sea, in waves beginning in the 1920s and continuing to this day. Many settled in northern Greece.
Their culinary imprint is indelible and several workshops and larger facilities around Thessaloniki (near Agios Antonios, for example) but also in Kilkis and elsewhere, have sprung up and produce a range of unusual products, from pastas to cheeses and more. The pasta called for in this dish, siron, is truly unique. It is essentially strips of very thin dough that is rolled up and grilled on either a metal hotplate or in the fireplace or baked until lightly browned. The resulting pasta is typically served either with browned butter and a little garlic or in a simple chicken soup, as below.

8 servings
  • 1 large hen or boiling chicken, about 2 kilos (5 lbs.)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • Salt and whole peppercorns to taste
  • Β½ kilo (1 lb.) siron dried pasta
  • 2 Tbs. salted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
  • Parsley or paprika for garnish

Bring the bird to a boil in 2 Β½ liters (2 Β½ quarts) of water. Season with salt and pepper and add in the onion. Reduce heat and simmer until the meat on the chicken falls off the bone, about 1 Β½ hours.

Remove the chicken carefully and cool. Remove and shred as much meat as possible. Return the shredded chicken to the pot. Bring the broth to a boil and turn off heat. Add the coiled siron pasta. Using a two-pronged, long-handled fork or long spoon, separate the pasta into strands.

Heat the butter in a small skillet and sautΓ© the garlic. Add the lemon juice to the garlic. Pour this mixture into the pot. Serve immediately in deep bowls, with plenty of broth, chicken pieces and siron, garnished with parsley or paprika. The richness of this soup stands well alongside a cool and lively white Assyrtico or Roditis.

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