Avgolemono…Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014

                             Avgolemono…Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014  Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014

Hot delicious soup season is finally here. Like many, I love to eat soup all year long, but it loses some of that comfort appeal when it is 90 degrees outside. And as much as I hate to see summer go I do love cold blustery days with friends and family eating a hot bowl of soup.

Now Avgolemono is the most popular of the Greek Soups out there and you will find it in every Greek Restaurant. The name is Greek and simply states the main ingredients. Avgo means egg and Lemono means lemon of course. This is such a simple soup to make, yet is full of flavor and it is hearty. You will find one variation to this recipe and that would be making it with orzo pasta instead of rice.

My mother made Avgolemono all the time and she used rice, then during Culinary School I worked in a Greek Restaurant at Baltimore’s Inner harbor and our Avgolemono was made with orzo pasta. The only other addition that is a matter of preference is adding cooked chicken pieces to this soup to make it even heartier.

I watched my mother and grandmother make this soup and believe me back them it was a little more difficult. Why?….because back then they only had a little hand egg beater to beat the eggs and lemon while adding the hot broth and making sure the soup does not curdle!

Any soup or sauce such as Hollandaise that requires an emulsion can be tricky. Avgolemono is no exception because the hot chicken stock must be slowly added to the beaten eggs and lemon juice. If the stock is added to quickly the eggs will cook and the soup will curdle. The good news is with today’s hand blenders and stand up blenders this process is a cinch to create the perfect soup.

Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014

 

I have fond memories of my Mom standing over the sink squeezing lemons, cracking eggs and getting aggressive with her little hand egg beater to beat the eggs and lemon into a foamy light base for this delicious soup.  Many Sunday mornings we would come down and find her making this soup and somehow she had gotten lemon pulp all over her face. This was no accident for after she squeezed the lemon juice in the pot she would rub the rind all over her face. Don’t laugh, she knew 60 years ago what Lancome and Estee’ Lauder have now bottled as skin care with their vitamin C and citrus infused $80.00 lotions!!!!

My Mom always started with raw chicken and vegetables to make a nice chicken stock, then place the chicken in a baking pan, cover it with some stock, olive oil and spices and brown it in the oven. I still make it this way sometimes, but I also have learned that a cooked roaster chicken that has been gobbled up is a perfect swap.  Never throw out the bones from that roaster chicken using the skin and all and place them in a large pot. Cover with water and you can certainly add carrots, onion and celery, but believe me it is not necessary.

This pot will quickly turn into a deep golden rich broth within 30-40 minutes. The longer you let it simmer the better the flavor. Using raw chicken takes hours to create a rich broth and if you have chicken left on the roaster chicken you can pull it off after you strain it. Also the only other change is that I have learned that no one can tell if I am using  real lemons or lemon juice in a bottle. Sorry Mom and Yia Yia…….but it really is just as flavorful and tastes just like yours!

Avgolemono… Greek Egg Lemon Soup              Makes 10-15 servings                                           Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014

1 roaster chicken carcass (simmer for 40 minutes)

or 3 bone in breasts and 3 bone in thighs,

 4 pieces of celery, 10 baby carrots and 1 med onion and simmer for 2 hours

( place either in a large soup pot and cover with water ( about a gallon)

1 lb bag of orzo pasta or rice

6 eggs                                                                                                                                                                                      Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014

1/2 to 3/4  C. bottled lemon juice or 4-6 lg. lemons squeezed (saving rinds for beauty treatment, lol)

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

Make either stock and strain to create a beautiful clear chicken stock, you may need to add a little more water as the stock is simmering to maintain the right amount of liquid.  Place the stock back in the soup pot and add the rice or orzo, stir well to break up and stir occasionally to keep from sticking together.

While this is cooking place the eggs and lemon juice in a blender or in a big bowl and beat until light and foamy. My family loves this soup lemony, so I always put 3/4 cups of lemon juice. Once the rice or orzo is cooked turn off and SLOWLY ladle the broth into the egg/lemon mixture, beating well after each addition. After the firsdt 4 ladels the sgg lemon miture will be hot enough that you cn just ladle the rest more quickly, but blending well after each addition.

Try to use up all the broth in the pot, you will have just the rice or orzo remaining and a little of the stock. Add the salt and pepper and blend really well for a minute more and then pour the egg/lemon broth emulsion back into the pot with the orzo and the rice. Stir well and taste for salt and pepper. If you want to enhance your stock you can use a teaspoon of chicken base to enrich flavor. Remember that there is usually a high salt content in these bases or cubes so do not add additional salt until you taste it. It will be a thin consistency at first, but cover and come back in 30 minutes and it will be thicker. Once refrigerated, you may even have to thinit down with a little water for it will thicken even more overnight.

Now add the cooked chicken or just serve it plain like this. You have now created a creamy delicious one of a kind soup that is loved by all. Enjoy this Greek comfort food anytime you have chicken in the menu or a left over cooked roaster!

Enjoy!

Cheff Steff                          Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014Avgolemono- Greek Egg Lemon Soup 10-30-2014

 
 

Comment (1)

  1. Hi Steffie,
    I now have the avgolemeno soup recipe! Can’t wait to make it. And I love that Mom would put the lemon all over her face!!!!! She was the best just like you are! The skys the limit for you Dear Cousin, Love you, Marcia

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