Sunday, April 3, 2011

Avgolemono soup (Greek Lemon Chicken soup)

I tried this soup for the first time this winter when my husband got me the BEST soup cookbook ever New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation's Best Purveyor of Fine Soup by Marjorie Druker and Clara Silverstein. If you like soup at ALL you will love this cookbook…I have not found a clunker recipe yet!  But me being me, after I tasted this soup I researched it online and read about a million different ways to make it. Many of the differences were in the process of making the soup because the ingredients are few and simple. Soooo I started playing with the recipe and this is my version…probably not authentically Greek…but it is yummy! It is a combination of ingredients, measurements, and cooking techniques from dozens of recipes I tried. This was the keeper in our house. My husband claims it is a great 'sick day' soup because it is warm and light and yummy. 
(NOTE: I love canned and boxed stocks for many soups and this one will work with them but to be honest this particular soup tastes 100% better with a rich homemade chicken stock. If you do use canned or boxed get stock NOT broth.)

Avgolemono Soup
2 quart (8 cups) of homemade chicken stock
¾ cup of orzo (I prefer orzo…some recipes call for rice but if you choose rice you will need more stock, you can also use other tiny pastas but the orzo is 'sturdier' and I think it works best)
3 eggs beaten
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or chopped  -we like alot of chicken and we prefer shredded you can use a nice Grocery store rotisserie chicken (maybe lemon pepper?) if you want.)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
(NOTE: I have added fresh spinach,kale, julienned carrots, and other veggies but they either need to be quick cooking like the spinach (which you can add with the chicken at the end) or you need to boil them in the stock before you proceed with the rest of the recipe. I have read that traditionally there are no veggies OR chicken meat...but my family like a little of both)
1)      Bring the stock to a boil
2)      Add the orzo and cook until al dente (5-7 minutes)
3)      In a large heatproof bowl beat the eggs and whisk in the lemon juice and zest
4)      Turn the heat under the stock down to a low simmer
5)      Add a ½ cup (I just use a ladle full) of the hot stock to the egg/lemon mixture while CONSTANTLY whisking…add 2 or 3 more ½ cups of hot stock to the egg mixture and KEEP WISKING. This temper the egg so they don’t turn into scrambled eggs!
6)      Add the cooked chicken to the main pot of stock (now that it is no longer boiling and is just barely simmering.
7)      Now slowly pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot and stir continuously for at least a minute after adding the egg. DO NOT let the pot come to a bowl or the eggs will curdle.
8)      Warm through and season to taste with sea salt and pepper
9)      Serve hot …get fancy and garnish with a slice of lemon!





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