Today, September 15th, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast
of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Khachveratz). At the end of the service, parishioners receive blessed basil,
which can be used in recipes.
|Photo from the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church|
Basil, also known as rahan, is a sweet-smelling plant with leaves that vary in size. On this feast day, basil is used to decorate the cross because according to tradition,”the True Cross was overgrown with aromatic
basil, which is used in the commemoration of the feast day today”.
significance of basil in the Armenian Church, and provided a recipe for ‘Eggplant-ZucchiniBake’, which features this fragrant herb.
extra-virgin olive oil
cayenne pepper (the amount of heat is entirely up to you!), optional
cans vegetable, chicken or beef broth
diced tomatoes, with its liquid
leaves, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
[NOTE: Swiss chard or
1- (10 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach, (thawed) can be
squeezed lemon juice
pepper, to taste
fresh basil for garnish
Add onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften
and turn brown, about 5 minutes. Add cayenne pepper, if using, and cook,
stirring, for 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables
are just tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in escarole, lemon juice, and salt and
pepper; continue cooking until escarole is wilted, 5 to 7 minutes more. Ladle
soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil.