Avgolemono Soup (Greek Egg & Lemon Chicken Soup)

I am home with a sick kid today.  I want him nowhere near me because I hate getting sick (does anyone like it?).  On the other hand, there’s that whole motherly love thing that drives me to want to take care of him.  Is there any better cure-all than chicken soup?  I think not.

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Lucky me, I had just made a pot of chicken bone broth the night before, and it was still sitting on the stove top waiting to be strained and tucked into the freezer for later use.  Well, later wound up being sooner.  No harm done.

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This quintessential Greek soup uses whipped eggs to add a smooth, rich texture, and lemon juice that brings a bright note to the overall flavor.  The name avgolemono literally translates into egg-lemon.  Similar to the tried-and-true chicken noodle soup, there are carrots and onions, but this soup typically has rice instead of pasta.  The end result is a rich and healthy soup that every yiayia (Greek for grandma) swears will cure anything and everything.  Perfect!

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I used a wild rice and brown rice blend, which added a nice earthy flavor to my soup, but regular white rice is the usual type used.

The traditional way of making avgolemono soup calls for using a whole chicken and boiling it to make the broth.  I’m not a fan of this method because then you have to spend a lot of extra time getting the meat off the bones, and the flavor of the chicken is also washed out.  I like to start with bone broth instead, and then add roasted chicken chunks at the very end.  Much easier and much better flavor.  Good quality canned chicken is an excellent alternative if you don’t have fresh roasted chicken on hand.  The meat can also be omitted, so no big deal anyway!

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I think Greeks are required to have a lemon tree in their yard.

Avgolemono Soup Recipe

  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano (Greek preferred)
  • 1 cup rice, any variety except quick-cooking
  • 5-6 Tbsp. lemon juice, more can be added as desired
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped roasted chicken, or a 12 oz can of cooked chicken with the broth
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put broth, carrots, onions, oregano, and rice into a stock pot and bring quickly to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until the rice and carrots are tender.  This will take about 30-45 minutes.

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Be sure to add the hot broth in a slow, steady stream while stirring.

When the soup is nearly done cooking, beat the ever-loving crud out of the eggs in a small mixing bowl.  You are going to want a hand mixer for this task.  The eggs should be good and frothy.  Add the lemon juice and beat until completely mixed.  Scoop out about two cups of the hot broth from the pot and slowly dribble it into the eggs while stirring constantly.  One hand pours, the other hand stirs.  This will “temper” the eggs so that they get warmed up without curdling.

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Add the chicken (including any liquid if you used canned chicken) to the hot soup and mix in.  Remove the pot from the heat and slowly pour in the egg mixture while stirring it into the soup.  Adjust flavor as needed with more lemon juice, salt, and/or pepper.  Serve hot to all healthy and sick people in your home!

 

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