Savory and I started doing these long-distance cooking dates recently where we both cook the same dish on the same day, and this weekend we took it back to his roots and went all Armenian–making souberag (a cheese pastry) and havaboor (a broth-based soup with egg and lemon).
These dishes went well together for a couple of reasons: First, because in terms of preparation, you can focus on each one separately and still have them both finished at the same time. And second, because the citrus flavor of the havaboor provided a really nice complement to the souberag, and while neither dish has meat you still leave the table feeling satisfied (and very, very full!).
The first step to making souberag is the most important: Put a pound of cheese into a bowl. Without eating all of it.
Next, butter up 10 layers of phyllo dough to give your cheese a comfy cushion of deliciousness, place cheese directly on top and then cover with 10 more layers of phyllo dough. Yes, you butter those layers, too–right before you top it all off with a magical egg and milk mixture and let it sit, basking in all its glory, for 30 minutes.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the soup:
Here, there’s a little trick: While the broth is cooking with the egg noodles, rice and salt, you froth the eggs and stir in the lemon, and then toss in a couple spoonfuls of the heated broth (to brace it for what’s coming, I suppose) and then stir it into the broth. The texture that comes from frothing the eggs is absolutely what makes this dish.
Dinner’s ready! Or as Savory’s grandma used to say, hrammetsek! Note: The parsley garnish on the soup is essential–as is mentally preparing yourself for the yumminess that’s about to happen in your mouth.
A special thank you to Josh and Mama Savory for the recipes and language assistance, and for sharing these cooking adventures with me!