Avgolemono soup is a traditional Greek soup. It literally means egg and lemon (avgo and lemono) . This is a wonderful soup anytime of the year, but is a really great summer soup because of the bright flavor the lemon brings. This is a really healthy, very easy soup. It is slightly thick and creamy, but that comes entirely from the eggs…no heavy cream necessary! This recipe is essentially like chicken noodle soup, and can vary depending on who’s making it. Commonly it comes with only chicken, orzo, and the avgolemono base. I have always liked mine with lots of vegetables so its hearty enough for a meal (along with the no knead bread).
8 cups chicken stock (preferably boxed, or homemade, and low sodium)
1 lb chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 cup orzo
1 onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
½ tsp oregano (dry is fine, I used Mexican oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 lemons (1/3 cup juice total, and the rest slices)
1 handful of fresh dill chopped (or 2 tsp dry)
I poached 3 chicken breasts, which essentially means I dumped them in boiling water for about 20 mins until they were cooked through. Any method here is fine, you can even buy rotisserie chicken if you want. I find poaching chicken gives a moist, easy to shred, neutrally flavored chicken. Do this first though so the chicken is ready to go.
Next I chopped up all of the vegetables…or the mirepoix (which is a fancy French word for carrots, onions, and celery which are cooked as the base of many stocks, soups, stews, and sauces. They are often referred to as aromatics). Anyway, back to the soup. I chopped these up small because avgolemono soup has a beautiful silky texture and I didn’t want large chunks of vegetables in it (unlike in traditional chicken noodle soup where I like big chunks)
Saute the mirepoix in a large soup pot, or dutch oven, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the chicken stock and the chicken and cook until the vegetables are starting to get tender (about 15 mins). Add the oregano, salt, pepper, and orzo and cook for another 15 mins. During this 15 minutes prepare your egg and lemon mixture.
Juice enough of the lemons to have 1/3 of a cup of juice (probably 2- 2 ½ lemons). Slice the rest to serve alongside the soup. In a medium bowl whisk all three eggs until they are foamy (about a minute longer than you would whisk them for scrambled eggs). Pour in the lemon juice while you continue to whisk. Set mixture aside.
Taste a bite of the soup to make sure the orzo is cooked and the base flavor is where you want it, and then remove the soup from the heat. Ladle out ¼ cup of soup (use a measuring cup) and slowly add this to the bowl of your lemon egg mixture while whisking (This is called tempering, which slowly starts to bring the eggs up to a warm temperature without shocking them and scrambling them). Once those are combined, slowly pour the egg and lemon mixture into the entire pot of soup while slowly stirring the soup. The soup will start to turn a buttery yellow color and begin to thicken slightly. Mix in the dill, cover the soup, and let it sit for about 5 mins before serving. Serve with slices of lemon on the side.
Delicious isn’t it??
A few notes:
I LOVE the flavor of lemon, so sometimes I tend to over lemon things. Therefore, I was very conservative in the amount of lemon juice I called for in this recipe. This is also the reason why I suggested serving lemon slices on the side….so for the people who love lemony flavor; they can add a little extra juice!
The soup was a hit, even my Greek friend Max loved it.
Next time you have one of those rainy summer days where its not quite cool enough for chili but soup sounds good…make this!